New York(ANN)-US poll shows growing worries about coronavirus; drop in confidence in government. The US death toll from the coronavirus outbreak has reached 200 and the number of cases surged past 14,000, forcing the state of California to order a state-wide lockdown.
Some 60% of Americans are now ‘very’ or ‘somewhat worried’ they or a family member will be exposed to the coronavirus, up from 36% in February, while confidence in the government’s ability to respond has fallen sharply, a new poll showed.
The Gallup poll was conducted on March 2-13, shortly after the first positive case of the fast-spreading virus was reported in the United States, and came as the administration of President Donald Trump accelerated its response to the pandemic.
Sixty-one percent of Americans are ‘very’ or ‘somewhat confident’ in the U.S. government’s ability to respond, a drop of 16% from February, the poll showed.
Trump, after initially downplaying the risks of the outbreak, last week declared a national emergency and on Monday urged Americans to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people and halt most social activities for 15 days to halt the spread of the disease.
The move came as financial markets tumbled despite a second emergency rate cut by the Federal Reserve, and Trump warned the U.S. economy could tip into recession as a result of the virus.
The Gallup poll showed increased worry about the outbreak among all major subgroups, surpassing that seen during previous health scares such as SARS, West Nile virus and anthrax.
It said the results showed a significant partisan divide among those polled, with 73% of Democrats the most worried of any group, compared to just 42% of Republicans.
Only 43% of Democrats were ‘very’ or ‘somewhat confident’ in the U.S. government’s ability to respond, down from 75% in February. By contrast, 85% of Republicans were very or somewhat confident, a one-percentage point drop from the earlier poll.
Over 85% of Americans now believe the coronavirus will have a “very” or “somewhat negative” impact on the global economy, up from 65% in the previous poll, Gallup said.
As of Friday morning, at least 14,250 people across the US have tested positive for the coronavirus, also known as Covid-19.
More than 2,700 new cases were reported in the country in 24 hours between Wednesday morning and Thursday morning.
More than 240,000 people have now been confirmed with the coronavirus globally, of which at least 85,000 have recovered, while more than 9,800 have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Italy has surpassed China in total deaths connected to the coronavirus, with the country reporting 3,405 fatalities as of Thursday.
Efforts to contain the spread of the virus in the US and Europe have brought life in many major cities in the West to a standstill, and governments are launching a variety of aid packages meant to alleviate the worst of the economic impact.
As the number of cases grows in the US, so does the burden on health officials. Many cities are already struggling with shortages of medical equipment, with some attempting to fill the gaps on their own.
New York, America’s most populous city, is two to three weeks away from running out of some medical supplies, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The governor of California ordered the state’s almost 40 million residents to stay home except for essential trips.
“This is not a permanent state, this is a moment in time,” Governor Gavin Newsom said in a news conference. “We will look back at these decisions as pivotal.”
After initially playing down the threat, President Donald Trump’s tone on the pandemic has changed dramatically over the past few days.
Sick people across the US say they are being denied the coronavirus test, as American states scramble to slow the spread of COVID-19 and stop hospitals from being overwhelmed with a surge in critically ill patients.
The former Surgeon General of the United States warned last week that America’s top medical centers are suffering from a severe shortage of coronavirus testing supplies and are being forced to turn away potential patients amid the fast-spreading pandemic.