A new poll shows a majority of Americans are self-isolating and nearly all of them are concerned about the novel coronavirus pandemic – and fewer than half trust the federal government to do the right thing.
Overall, 92% of Americans are concerned about the coronavirus outbreak, according to an Ipsos/Axios poll released Wednesday. A majority now say they are self-isolating, and the share who say they have at least a fair amount of trust in the federal government to look out for the best interests of their family has dropped below 50%.
A majority of Americans (53%) now say they’ve self-quarantined, described in the survey as “stay[ing] at home and avoid[ing] contact with others for 14 days.” That’s up from 10% who said so two weeks ago and 39% last week. One of the biggest increases is among those over the age of 65 – almost two-thirds of that group are self-quarantining, up from only 11% said so in mid-March.
Nearly a third of Americans (31%) report that their ability to access health care has gotten worse in the last week, up from 25% last week and 9% two weeks ago. About a quarter now (24%) say their ability to protect the health of their household has also gotten worse in the past week.
Almost 9 in 10 Americans say they know what to do if they were to feel sick and suspect they have the virus. Only 1 in 10 say they know someone with coronavirus, but that’s more than doubled from the 4% who said so two weeks ago. And 1 in 10 say they tried to get tested for coronavirus themselves, but were turned away. That’s up from 5% two weeks ago.
The tracking poll has measured the public’s views on and response to the coronavirus outbreak in each of the last three weeks, with the results showing the swift change in American life over that time.
The poll finds abrupt changes in behavior after recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others.
The share who say they canceled travel plans rose from 30% in the first week of the poll to 48% now. The share saying they canceled or skipped large gatherings climbed from 46% in the first week to 73% now. Just 13% say they dined out in the last week, down from 56% in the first week of the poll, and only 23% say they have visited with friends and family, down from 48% two weeks ago.
Amid increased self-isolation, half of people have had a video call with friends or family, while 21% have attended a large gathering via online streaming or social media such as birthday parties, book clubs, religious services or happy hours, and 12% have attended an online exercise class.
A sizable minority (37%) say their emotional well-being has worsened, up from 29% who said so two weeks ago. And 30% say their mental health has gotten worse in the last week, down from 35% in the week prior but still above the 22% who felt that way at the start of the tracking poll.
A smaller 14% say their physical health has worsened in the last week, up from 8% in the first week of the poll.
About half of Americans are worried about their ability to pay bills or their job security, as the survey finds dramatic changes in the ways people are working.
About 4 in 10 (42%) of employed Americans have been told to work remotely, up from 21% who said so two weeks ago, and 43% say it has become harder to do their jobs in the last few weeks.
Two in 10 have been temporarily furloughed or suspended while 16% say their employers have shut down their place or work entirely.
The poll looked at how the changes in employment are affecting people of different classes, which were defined by using an index based on individuals’ income and educational attainment.
It found that 1 in 5 middle class Americans say their company has closed or they have been furloughed, which is also true of 19% of lower-middle class Americans and 15% of lower class Americans.
Those figures drop among upper-middle or upper class Americans. Around half of those in the upper-middle class say they are working from home, as are 39% of those in the upper class, compared with just 17% of those in the middle class, 11% in the lower-middle, and 3% in the lower class.
This Axios/Ipsos Poll was conducted March 27-30 online among 1,355 adults who are members of Ipsos’ KnowledgePanel. Overall results have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.