Medical workers at Kaiser Permanente French Campus test a patient for the novel coronavirus, … [+]
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Topline: Two-thirds of Americans say they are concerned about themselves or family members getting infected with coronavirus, according to a new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, up from 45% in mid-February.
- When the poll was initially conducted in February, respondents were more worried about the flu than coronavirus; that has flipped now that the number of cases in the U.S. has exceeded 8,000.
- Despite being at higher risk for serious complications, only 61% of respondents over the age of 60 said they were concerned about the virus, the lowest rate of any age group.
- That may be a result of political affiliation rather than medical reality; Republicans, who as a group skew older than Democrats, were less worried about coronavirus than Democrats by a margin of 20 points.
- About one-third of those surveyed said they were stockpiling food and cleaning supplies.
Big number: 88%. That is how many people reported washing their hands more often in response to the pandemic, even if not all see it as a real threat. Only 7% said they have not changed their behavior at all.
Surprising fact: Even though the news is full of reports of careless spring breakers, the poll shows that adults between 18 and 29 may be taking the pandemic more seriously than their parents. Three-quarters of them said they were somewhat or very concerned, more than any other age group. Less surprising, they were less likely than older adults to get their news about the outbreak from traditional media.
What to watch for: If the partisan gap will start to close. President Trump, who reportedly was convinced to take the threat seriously after a visit from Fox News host Tucker Carlson, has accelerated his response to the crisis by invoking the wartime Defense Production Act and signing a relief bill that includes free coronavirus testing and paid sick leave.