How Americans are holding up amidst the crisis

Hoang NguyenData Journalist
April 03, 2020, 8:00 PM GMT+0

The good news is that most Americans (67%) think they’re personally going to be okay in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. But not everyone is optimistic about the country’s—or society’s—future.

YouGov began asking about people’s general feelings about the coronavirus situation on March 25. Every day since then, people voiced their opinions on topics such as but not just limited to: Is the public taking the virus seriously? What will our society look like in the future? What will the economy look like? Data from the study also presents insights into how people are spending their time during the crisis, including if they ventured from their homes to visit family and friends, shopped for groceries, or exercised.

Along with dozens of other coronavirus related data projects, YouGov plans to continue asking about how the American people are dealing with the still evolving COVID-19 crisis on a personal level. It’s one of the greatest challenges of our time and this data offers one way to make the issue understandable, and accessible.

More than half of Americans say people aren’t taking coronavirus seriously enough

Among the first wave of findings, one statistic really sticks out. A majority (56%) of Americans say the public is not taking the virus seriously enough. Nearly three in 10 (28%) Americans say the public is taking the virus seriously enough.

Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center reports that the US gets thousands of new confirmed cases every day and that trend has yet to slow down.

People leave their homes during the day—where do they go?

Many states have shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders in place but these directives make exceptions for essential activities such as shopping for groceries or exercising. The data shows that when people were asked if they left their home the previous day, more than one in two (55%) answered yes. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of those who left their homes stayed out for less than two hours and 37 percent stayed out for past that.

Among those who say they left their home yesterday for some reason, roughly six in 10 say they went out shopping including those who bought groceries (44%), other things (9%), or both (6%). Nearly half of the same group say they went for a walk or exercise (49%) and one in five say they went to visit friends or family (21%).

Many say the crisis has made them feel worse about society but they are personally okay

A health pandemic on this scale is enough to reshape people’s perceptions of the world. YouGov’s latest data shows two in five Americans (40%) say the COVID-19 crisis has negatively impacted their feelings of society. Americans aged 18- to 34-years-old are the most likely group to say the crisis has worsened their view of society (46% vs. 40% of US adults, a statistically significant difference).

Just one in nine (11%) say it has made them feel better about society.

When asked about their own futures, most Americans say they think they’ll personally be okay (67%). Over half (54%) say they have enough food for at least two weeks or more but a large share say they have enough for less than that (46%).

Nearly one in five people express concern though and say they fear for their futures (19%).

Methodology: This study on American perceptions toward COVID-19 was conducted online among US adults aged 18 and over. YouGov began running the daily survey on March 25, 2020 and the data is current up to April 2, 2020. See the full results for sample sizes as they vary by question.

Image: Getty

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