How Are Americans Adjusting To Life In A Pandemic?

By: Nathaniel Rakich | FiveThirtyEight

When asked when they think it will be safe to end social distancing measures and reopen businesses, 6 percent of respondents told The Economist/YouGov right now, and 8 percent said in about two weeks — meaning about 14 percent agree with Trump’s timeline to reopen much of the country around May 1. However, a majority of Americans think it will take much longer. Twenty-eight percent said they think it will be safe in about a month, while a plurality (36 percent) think it will take several months. Eight percent predicted it will take a year or longer, while 15 percent just weren’t sure. And according to The Harris Poll’s COVID-19 Tracker from April 11 to 13, 84 percent of Americans are worried that lifting restrictions too early would result in another surge of COVID-19 cases.

Harris also found that the event that would make the most Americans (62 percent) comfortable resuming certain activities, such as flying or attending sporting events, would be the development of a COVID-19 vaccine. A sobering 13 percent, however, said that there was no action that could be taken that would make them comfortable returning to those activities. And overall, Americans did not express a lot of confidence that things would return to “normal” after the pandemic has passed. Only 19 percent said they were very confident that would happen, 35 percent said they were somewhat confident, 22 percent said they were not very confident and 23 percent said they were not at all confident or that things would “never be the same.”

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