New Poll: Few Americans Support Easing Virus Protections

by on April 23, 2020 · 3 comments

in Health, San Diego

A new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows that Americans overwhelming support stay-at-home orders to slow the coronavirus. Here’s the report:

Americans remain overwhelmingly in favor of stay-at-home orders and other efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus, a new survey finds, even as small pockets of attention-grabbing protests demanding the lifting of such restrictions emerge nationwide.

The survey from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research also finds that a majority of Americans say it won’t be safe to lift social distancing guidelines anytime soon, running counter to the choice of a handful of governors who have announced plans to ease within days the public health efforts that have upended daily life and roiled the global economy.

More than a month after schoolyards fell silent, restaurant tables and bar stools emptied, and waves from a safe distance replaced hugs and handshakes, the country largely believes restrictions on social interaction to curb the spread of the virus are appropriate.

Only 12% of Americans say the measures where they live go too far. About twice as many people, 26%, believe the limits don’t go far enough. The majority of Americans — 61% — feel the steps taken by government officials to prevent infections of COVID-19 in their area are about right.

About 8 in 10 Americans say they support measures that include requiring Americans to stay in their homes and limiting gatherings to 10 people or fewer — numbers that have largely held steady over the past few weeks.

“We haven’t begun to flatten the curve yet. We’re still ramping up in the number of cases and the number of deaths,” said Laura McCullough, 47, a college physics professor from Menomonie, Wisconsin. “We’re still learning about what it can do, and if we’re still learning about what it can do, this isn’t going to be the time to let people go out and get back to their life.”

While the poll reveals that the feelings behind the protests that materialized in the past week or so in battleground states such as Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are held by only a small fraction of Americans, it does find signs that Republicans are, like President Donald Trump, becoming more bullish on reopening aspects of public life.

Just 36% of Republicans now say they strongly favor requiring Americans to stay home during the outbreak, compared with 51% who said so in late March. While majorities of Democrats and Republicans think current restrictions where they live are about right, Republicans are roughly four times as likely as Democrats to think restrictions in place go too far — 22% to 5%.

More Democrats than Republicans, meanwhile, think restrictions don’t go far enough, 33% to 19%.

“They’ll be lifted, but there are still going to be sick people running around,” said 66-year-old Lynn Sanchez, a Democrat and retired convenience store manager from Jacksonville, Texas, where Gov. Greg Abbott has reopened state parks and plans to announce further relaxations next week. “And we’re going to have another pandemic.”

More than 45,000 people in the United States have died from COVID-19, while 22 million have applied for unemployment benefits since March. It’s that economic cost that has led some governors to follow Trump’s lead and start talking about allowing some shuttered businesses to reopen, including in Georgia, where many businesses — including gyms, bowling alleys and tattoo parlors — can do so starting Friday. Restaurants there can resume dine-in service next week.

Yet the survey finds that few Americans — 16% — think it’s very or extremely likely that their areas will be safe enough in a few weeks for the restrictions to be lifted. While 27% think it’s somewhat likely, a majority of Americans — 56% — say conditions are unlikely to be safe in a few weeks to start lifting the current restrictions.

“If we try too hard to restart the economy prematurely, there will be waves of reinfection,” said 70-year-old retired medical equipment salesman Goble Floyd, of Bonita Springs, Florida. “I don’t think the economy or life will get back to normal until there’s a vaccine. It just seems this is so seriously contagious.”

The emerging partisan differences are apparent. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is a Republican and unwavering Trump supporter. GOP lawmakers in Wisconsin filed suit Tuesday against the state’s Democratic governor after he ordered most nonessential businesses to remain closed until May 26.

The poll finds 59% of Republicans say it’s at least somewhat likely that their areas will be safe enough for reopening in just a few weeks, compared with 71% of Democrats who say it is unlikely. Still, even among Republicans, just 27% say that’s very likely.

“I haven’t met one person at the protests that disagrees with the fact that we need to self-quarantine until April 30,” said Matt Seely, a spokesman for the Michigan Conservative Coalition, which sponsored an automobile-based protest at the state’s capitol in Lansing last week. “Nobody wants to do the wrong thing. But the solution is not to stay in your home until the last case of COVID is gone.”

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Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie April 23, 2020 at 9:57 am

Another poll concurs; a new poll from Kaiser found that 80 percent of adults say strict shelter-in-place measures are worth it to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation finds a high level of support for stay-at-home measures, …https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/494280-poll-8-in-10-say-they-support-strict-shelter-in-place-measures

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Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie April 23, 2020 at 1:03 pm

Nearly 4 percent of San Diego County COVID-19 patients have died, a rate higher than most jurisdictions are reporting.
Nine more people have died as the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus near 2,500 in San Diego County. Officials also reported 57 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, bringing the region’s totals to 2,491 cases and 96 deaths.

The latest victims were six men and three women between 38 to 99 years old. All of them had underlying medical conditions, said Dr. Eric McDonald, the county’s medical director of epidemiology.

“Unfortunately, San Diegans are still dying from complications of COVID-19,” McDonald said. “It is imperative that people continue to stay at home to keep the virus from spreading, especially to people at high risk of developing complications from the disease.”

The county has reported 24 deaths from the disease over a two-day period — the deadliest two-day stretch since the coronavirus crisis hit the county.

McDonald said the seeming uptick in deaths may not indicate much about the direction the pandemic is taking regionally. Calling deaths a “lagging indicator,” he noted that physicians have eight days to file death certificates. The nine deaths reported Wednesday occurred over a four-day period from last Friday through Monday.

Deaths are not being used as an indicator to make decisions such as when to loosen or lift public health orders, McDonald said.

The number of patients who have been hospitalized due to coronavirus complications increased to 611 on Wednesday, with 206 in intensive care.

Nearly 36,500 tests have been conducted in the county, with a positive test rate of around 6.8 percent. An estimated 1,434 people have recovered from COVID-19.

Of all positive-testing coronavirus cases, 24.5 percent of the patients have been hospitalized and 8.3 percent sent to intensive care. Nearly 4 percent of COVID-19 patients have died, a rate higher than most jurisdictions are reporting.

“This is one of several indicators that there are undiagnosed cases in our community,” McDonald said. San Diego Patch https://patch.com/california/san-diego/96-deaths-2-491-confirmed-coronavirus-cases-san-diego-county?utm_term=article-slot-1&utm_source=newsletter-daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter

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Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie April 23, 2020 at 5:23 pm

San Diego County reported its largest one-day jump in coronavirus cases yet Thursday with 152 new cases confirmed, and three new deaths due to the disease. … The new numbers bring the county to 2,643 total cases and 100 deaths since the outbreak began. The county has now tested over 38,000 residents, meaning about 6.7 percent of tests come back positive.

Officials say the three latest deaths all involved patients in their mid 60s to late 70s, and each patient had underlying health conditions. … Though the last 72-hour period marked a significant increase in confirmed deaths in San Diego County, experts say it may not necessarily mean that coronavirus is spreading rapidly in the area: rather they say it is very likely the county is simply receiving data in waves. San Diego Patch https://patch.com/california/san-diego/san-diego-county-reaches-100-deaths-2-643-coronavirus-cases?utm_source=alert-breakingnews&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=alert

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