COVID-19 Survey Data Is Pouring In, And It Paints A Bleak Picture
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This week, the Pew Research Center released a series of surveys that measured Americans’ attitudes toward the Coronavirus pandemic.
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The picture that is emerging is alarming, to say the least.
Here are some of the more noteworthy top-line results.
#1: Americans perceive the COVID-19 threat to be growing, and growing fast.
Last week, 47% of Americans viewed COVID-19 as a major health threat. This week, that number has risen to 66%. Not only are Americans viewing Coronavirus as a growing threat to the health of the U.S. population, they also perceive it to be a growing economic threat and a growing threat to their personal health.
The outlook is no less bleak for people’s personal finances. Almost half of Americans (49%) are now viewing the pandemic as a major threat to their pocketbooks and 20% of Americans report being laid off or having lost a job while 27% of Americans have taken a pay cut.
#2: Americans are more likely to believe there has been an under-reaction, not an overreaction, to the pandemic.
Highlighting the perceived severity of the situation, most Americans believe local and state governments have responded appropriately to the threat or haven’t taken the threat seriously enough (as opposed to overreacted). Americans also believe that ordinary people around the country aren’t taking the threat as seriously as they should be.
95% of Americans believe that restricting travel to the United States has been a necessary measure, 91% agree with the cancelling of major sports and entertainment events, and 90% agree with the closing of K-12 schools.
#3: Confidence in the U.S. healthcare system to effectively manage the crisis is waning.
Approximately one-quarter of Americans are “not too confident” that hospitals and medical centers in their area and around the country can handle the crisis. This number is even higher for nursing homes; 33% of Americans lack confidence in the ability of nursing homes to effectively manage the outbreak.
There are, however, a few silver linings in the data, if you can call them that. For one, only 12% of Americans report having seen a lot of fake news on Coronavirus and most are satisfied with the way the media has been covering the pandemic. Second, social distancing and quarantines may open the door for more Americans to engage in remote work in the future. According to a 2019 National Compensation Study, only 7% of U.S. civilian workers enjoy the benefits of a “flexible workplace” or telework. This number is likely to increase as companies adapt to the demands of COVID-19 distancing efforts.
Republicans should also be pleased to know that Trump’s approval ratings are higher than ever; 45% of Americans approve of the way Donald Trump is handling his job today compared to only 40% in September of 2019. Moreover, 48% of Americans believe Trump is doing an excellent or good job in handling the crisis while only 32% believe he is doing a poor job.