Americans Share Their Thoughts on the U.S. Response to the Pandemic

National Public Radio and Ipsos, a consulting firm and market research company, released a new poll on the coronavirus today. They asked Americans how they feel about the country’s handling of the pandemic thus far.

According to the poll, most citizens feel that the country should take a more aggressive stance against the virus to help stop the spread. Based on the numbers, it’s clear that most people are also sick and tired of sheltering in place and avoiding large crowds. The sooner we get this crisis under control, the sooner we can all go back to the way things were. See the full poll here.

A Damaging Report Card

The study polled 1,115 adults living all over the U.S. The main takeaway was that almost two-thirds of Americans believe our country is handling the pandemic worse than other countries (65%) and most (67%) would like to see a single, unified national strategy for combating the virus.

People are watching other countries’ handling of the pandemic and noticing that we haven’t achieved the same results. China, South Korea, Germany, Italy, and other European nations have managed to flatten the curve in recent months after suffering significant losses earlier in the year.

In addition, many participants were critical of the President of the U.S. As Laura Braslow, a Republican from Pennsylvania, told NPR, “We have a leader, and I use the term loosely, who is not providing leadership to this country at all. I mean if I have to suck it up and wear a mask, he should be sucking it up and wearing a mask. He should be showing the American public that this is the right thing to do.”

Testing remains a major issue for many Americans as well. Sophie McClellan, a Democrat from Jacksonville, FL, added, “I think we’re doing worse. I don’t think we have adequate testing because it can take up to two weeks to get results.”

How to Curb the Spread

Participants of the study were asked whether they support additional safety requirements to limit the spread of the virus. Most people were in favor of these ideas, even though they were considered controversial just a few months ago.

  • 85% say they support additional federal funding to make COVID-19 testing free of charge.
  • 83% support federal funding for the manufacture of protective equipment and testing supplies.
  • 83% are in favor of federal funding to make a vaccine available to all Americans.
  • 76% support state-wide mandates that everyone wear facial coverings when out in public.
  • 62% are for a national strategy for when businesses reopen.
  • 60% would like a national strategy for when schools should reopen.
  • 59% are in favor of a mandatory two-week shelter-in-place order for the entire country.
  • 55% support a temporary ban on all interstate travel.

Americans have always valued their freedom, but it seems the tide is turning in the face of the coronavirus. Most people seem to favor caution and safety rather than letting people go and do as they please.

Shutting down state borders and requiring everyone to wear a mask would likely be a tall order in a majority of the country, but many Americans think this is a necessary sacrifice. 

What About Reopening Schools?

Parents and educators are anxious to reopen schools, but not if it means sacrificing their own health or that of their children. There’s been a lot of back and forth in terms of what’s best for the kids this fall.

However, 66% of respondents prefer online learning for the fall semester. Just 34% said they support a return to in-person learning. Democrats were much less likely to say they feel comfortable sending their kids back to school in-person than Republicans.

Getting Back to Work

Earning a living and rescuing the U.S. economy is also top of mind for many Americans, but not if it means putting people at risk.

  • 69% said people should be allowed to work from home whenever possible until a coronavirus vaccine becomes available.
  • 31% said they prefer to return to offices and workplaces now, with safety precautions in place for employees.

But how do we go back to work if so many people support a mandatory national shutdown?

59% of participants said workers should receive a stipend that would allow them to stay at home for two weeks as part of a national quarantine effort.

It’s clear that more Americans are warming up to the idea of state-wide lockdowns. Keeping workers and kids at home until a vaccine becomes available seems to be the most popular option. However, implementing these policies would be a challenge in many areas. These statistics help us make sense of what’s happening on the ground as public opinion remains in flux. Attitudes and preferences will likely continue to change as the pandemic lingers on.

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