One in five Americans know someone who has died from coronavirus complications

Linley SandersSenior Data Journalist
September 21, 2020, 2:41 PM UTC

About one in five Americans (20%) have experienced the death of a close friend or family member because of the COVID-19 virus, according to the latest Economist/YouGov Poll. The data comes as the United States approaches 200,000 reported deaths from the coronavirus — though experts believe official tallies have undercounted the number of deaths due to testing limitations. 

This group of Americans who have lost a family member (7%) or close friend (13%) as a result of the pandemic are more likely than Americans overall to be worried about contracting COVID-19 themselves (73% vs 60%) and are following news of the coronavirus more closely (86% vs 79%) than most Americans.

Data from the Economist/YouGov Poll indicates that Americans who identify as Republican, Democrat, and Independent are equally likely to have lost someone to the virus — it does not appear to have only impacted one political party over another. Registered voters who know someone who died from COVID-19 are more likely than registered voters overall (66% vs 55%) to be uneasy with President Donald Trump’s ability to handle the coronavirus outbreaks. 

This group does not significantly differ from the rest of the country on their confidence in Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s ability to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Fewer than half of registered voters (44%) are uneasy with Biden’s approach to handling the coronavirus; two in five (40%) registered voters who have lost a friend or family member say they are uneasy. About half (49%) of those in this group are confident in Biden’s approach compared to 45 percent of registered voters overall. 

Related: Three in four Americans expect mass protests if Donald Trump is re-elected 

See the toplines and crosstabs from this week’s Economist/YouGov Poll 

Methodology: The Economist survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,500 U.S. adult citizens interviewed online between September 13 - 15, 2020. There were 271 US Adult citizens on this poll who have experienced the death of a close friend or family member because of the COVID-19 virus. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the US Bureau of the Census, as well as 2016 Presidential vote, registration status, geographic region, and news interest. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all US citizens. The margin of error is approximately 3.4% for the overall sample. 

Image: Getty