Updated: Mar 25
On Sunday, we closed out a nationwide survey on the public reaction to COVID-19. The online survey was conducted with 650 adults (ages 18+) living in the United States from Friday, March 20th to Sunday, March 22nd with a margin of error of +/-4%. Eighteen questions were asked including relevant demographics.
How threatening is COVID-19?
(10-point scale: 0=not at all threatening…10=extremely threatening)
44% believe COVID-19 is highly threatening (9s & 10s) to society at large, but only 31% believe the same for themselves, suggesting people feel it might be worse for others than for themselves. Regardless, more women than men feel COVID-19 is threatening.
Personally know someone who’s tested positive for COVID-19?
6% of respondents know someone personally who has tested positive for the virus. Less than 1% of those in the “at risk” age group of 60 or older say this.
Impact of COVID-19 on the lives of respondents?
Overall, 26% say they already had their employment status affected by COVID-19 by the time this survey was conducted (March 20th – 22nd). Among those with children, this is true for 36%.
A large majority are taking action to prevent the spread of the virus:
· 92% washing hands more frequently
· 78% covering mouth with elbow when coughing or sneezing
· 70% not touching face
· Only 5% say they’ve done none of these.
However, respondents don’t necessarily believe their fellow citizens are doing as much. Just 20% say their fellow citizens are reacting appropriately to COVID-19 and a plurality (44%) feel the actions of their fellow citizens have been inadequate.
Socially, regardless of key demographic characteristics, nearly one in ten Americans are completely isolating themselves from others.
Are government and business reacting appropriately to COVID-19?
34% feel the government’s reaction to COVID-19 has been just about right. Compared to government, more believe the reaction of business has been excessive and fewer believe it’s been inadequate.
What news sources are being used for information on COVID-19?
With one exception, most Americans have gotten their news on COVID-19 from local (76%) and/or national (73%) television news sources. The exception includes those under 40 who have more often gotten their news from Facebook (76%).
Regardless of news source, respondents feel the media’s response to COVID-19 has been more responsible than not (49% responsible, 36% irresponsible). One exception is among residents of the Southwest where 51% feel the media has been irresponsible in their response to COVID-19.
How have attitudes about COVID-19 changed since first hearing about it?
67% feel COVID-19 is worse than what they thought it would be when first hearing about it.
Among those whose attitudes have not changed, 25% thought it would be highly threatening for society from the start.
When will things return to normal?
57% believe things will be the way they were prior to COVID-19 in 3 months or less, with those 30 or younger being more optimistic (77% say things will return to normal in 3 months or less).