Fewer than half of Americans surveyed are very or somewhat confident that President Donald Trump (45 percent) and Vice President Mike Pence (48 percent) are doing a good job responding to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as the confirmed cases increase across the United States, according to a national survey by Pew Research Center conducted on March 10-16 among 8,914 U.S. adults.
The survey found that 83 percent of the public has confidence that public health officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local government officials are doing a good job in responding to the COVID-19 outbreak. Sixty-three percent of the respondents said public health officials at the CDC have gotten the risks for the COVID-19 epidemic about right.
So far, 70 percent of Americans said the COVID-19 outbreak poses a major threat to the nation’s economy and 47 percent said it is a major threat to the overall health of the U.S. population.
Americans are less concerned about how the COVID-19 epidemic is affecting their health, finances and local communities, as only 27 percent said the epidemic is a major threat to their personal health, while 51 percent said it is a minor threat and 22 percent think it does not threaten their personal health.
The public responses to news media coverage of the epidemic outbreak also diverge. Although 70 percent of Americans think the news media are doing very or somewhat well covering the story, 62 percent said the news media have exaggerated the risks from the COVID-19 outbreak, and 48 percent have seen at least some news they thought was made up about the virus.
The survey shows that missing work for an extended period because of the epidemic would hurt lower-income, less highly educated, younger and nonwhite workers more than others in the labor force. Among those who are currently employed, only 36 percent said they would continue to get paid if they were unable to work for two weeks or more because of the epidemic. Over half of the employed people said they would not get paid if the epidemic forces them to miss work for at least two weeks.
Around a third of them said it would be difficult for them to keep up with their basic expenses while out of work and not being paid. Only 21 percent of the workers said they would not get paid but would still be able to keep up with expenses. Among adults with family incomes of less than $50,000, 49 percent said they would struggle with day-to-day expenses.
Copyedited by Madhusudan Chaubey
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