Americans are increasingly alarmed by the rapid spread of the new coronavirus, with sharply growing majorities saying the outbreak poses a major threat to the health of the U.S. population and the nation’s economy.
New Pew Research says that 33% say they or someone in their household has lost their job or suffered a pay cut or reduction in work hours because of the coronavirus.
There is broad public agreement that the nation is confronting a crisis. Two-thirds of Americans – including majorities in all major demographic and partisan groups – say COVID-19 is a “significant crisis.”
And their outlook for the national economy is bleak. Nearly two-thirds of Americans (65%) say the coronavirus outbreak will cause a recession or depression in the U.S., including nearly one-in-five (17%) who anticipate a depression.
Less than two weeks ago, 47% said the coronavirus outbreak was a major threat to the health of the U.S. population. Today, 66% say it is major threat to the health of Americans. An even larger majority – 88% – says COVID-19 poses a major threat to the U.S. economy, up from 70% in mid-March.
Americans continue to be less anxious about the personal impact of the coronavirus outbreak. Still, there have been significant increases in the shares saying the outbreak is a major threat to their own health (36% currently) and personal finances (49%).
About seven-in-ten adults (71%) say that to address the coronavirus, it is necessary to require most businesses other than grocery stores or pharmacies to close. A larger share of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (81%) than Republicans and GOP leaners (61%) view this requirement as necessary.
An even larger majority (85%) thinks it is necessary to limit restaurants to carry-out only. And with a growing number of states announcing delays of their upcoming primary elections, 70% say this is a necessary step to take because of the coronavirus.
The public is largely positive about the way that U.S. public health officials, such as those with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are responding to the outbreak. Nearly eight-in-ten (79%) say these officials are doing an excellent or good job; majorities of Republicans (84%) and Democrats (74%) express positive views of the response by public health officials.
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