Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a key member of the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force, testified before the Senate Health Committee on Tuesday and warned that “the consequences could be really serious” if the nation reopens too early.
Trended data from The Economist/YouGov finds that Dr. Fauci’s words could carry significant weight. A majority of Americans (56%) trusted him “a lot” or “somewhat” in late-March, when The Economist/YouGov began tracking this metric. That number has remained steady overall—a majority continue to trust him (56%) as he serves on the White House Coronavirus Task Force and faces right-wing attacks that accuse him of not considering experimental drugs to treat COVID-19.
While trust levels among Republicans remain relatively high, Republicans trust Dr. Fauci less this week (48%) than they did in late-March (56%). There’s been a significant uptick in the number of Republicans who distrust Dr. Fauci. On March 28, only one in 20 Republicans (5%) said they distrusted Dr. Fauci’s medical advice. Now, about a quarter (23%) of Republicans distrust his advice somewhat or a lot.
Democrats’ trust in Dr. Fauci has remained steadfast throughout the same period. More than three in five (64%) Democrats trusted Dr. Fauci’s in late-March, and those numbers have ticked up to over two-thirds (68%).
Americans indicate that they trust medical advice from Dr. Fauci more than they do from President Donald Trump, who has pushed the nation to reopen. One-third of Americans overall (34%) trust medical advice from the President, according to the latest Economist/YouGov data. Republicans, however, are much more likely to trust medical advice from President Trump (72% vs. 48% from Dr. Fauci).
Three-quarters of Americans (75%) believe it is likely that state-level plans to reopen large sectors of their economies could result in an increase in COVID-19 cases. Nine in 10 Democrats (91%) believe it is very or somewhat likely that this will result in an increase in coronavirus cases, compared to three in five (61%) Republicans.