Shifting Attitudes Towards Lockdowns Amid Case Resurgence

Amid a resurgence of COVID-19 cases, hard hit states are reversing plans to reopen and re-instituting mandated restrictions in hopes of slowing the spread and preventing overwhelming hospitals…. This weekend we asked those in the hardest hit states how they’re feeling about facing another lock-down and what they think about how their state has responded. 

Here we take a closer look the hardest hit states:

Arizona:

  • A majority supports another lockdown amid thousands of new coronavirus cases in Arizona: Nearly 9 in 10 Arizonans (87%) are concerned about a new wave of COVID-19 outbreak in their area. In response, Gov. Doug Ducey on Monday ordered the state’s bars, gyms, movie theaters, and water parks to shut down for at least 30 days, a decision that many support: (76%) of those in Arizona said they support another lockdown.
  • Nearly three-quarters (72%) of Arizonans say the first lockdowns were effective in their area, but a majority (61%) oppose their states re-opening: Just three weeks after the stay-at-home orders were lifted and business closures expired, Arizona saw a big spike in the number of coronavirus cases on June 10th as reported by NBC. In fact, half (47%) of Arizonans say one of the biggest drivers of the resurgence is that their state re-opened too soon and that they did not meet the criteria to reopen. What’s more is that (35%) of people in Arizona say their state reopened in a cavalier manner, without critical systems in place to manage and track the virus transmission.
  • How did we end up here again? Reckless behavior and no incentives to follow safety guidelines: We asked people in Arizona what they thought were the biggest drivers for the resurgence of COVID-19 cases in their state and (53%) say people in their state have acted reckless by not following safety protocols. Pair that with over a third (35%) who say there was no incentive for people to follow state recommended safety protocols (e.g., masks) as they were not enforced requirements, but rather “recommendations”. 

Texas:

    • Similar to Arizona, a majority of Texans (76%) support another lockdown amidst thousands of new COVID-19 cases in their state: This support correlates with the fact that 4 in 5 Texans are concerned about a new wave of COVID-19 outbreak in their area. Three-fifths (62%) of Texans agree that we need to make sacrifices now if there is to be any real chance at fighting COVID-19, reflecting new growing concern.
    • Texans are divided on their state’s approach to re-opening in the coming weeks and months: Nearly 3 in 5 Texans (58%) oppose their state’s approach to re-opening, while around 2 in 5 (42%) support it. Despite nearly three quarters of Texans thinking their lockdowns were effective in their area, Texas recently reported a record number of 8,258 new cases in a single day. More than half of Texans (56%) attribute the resurgence to people in their state acting recklessly by not following safety protocols. What’s more is that (43%) of Texans say another driver of the resurgence is the White House downplaying the danger of COVID-19 and diminishing effective disease defenses such as mask-wearing, testing, and social distancing.

 

  • So, what’s next? As concern continues to grow in Texas for another wave of COVID-19 we thought it prudent to ask Texans what they thought the biggest drivers of the resurgence had been. (43%) of Texans believe their state re-opened too soon while (44%) think people in their state show a lack of concern for the pandemic. That coupled with the fact that (31%) of Texans believe their state reopened in a cavalier manner, without critical systems in place to manage and track the virus transmission, demonstrates the destructive resurgence we are seeing in states like Texas. 

California 

  • Despite that a majority of Californians think the lockdowns were effective, they are evenly divided in support for how the state is re-opening. A majority (81%) think the lockdowns were effective in their area, while nearly a fifth (18%) think they were not. Californians are evenly split on the state’s approach to re-opening: (51%) support, while (49%) oppose. Vox explains the dichotomy: How California went from a coronavirus success story to a worrying new hot spot.

 

  • How did California go from a success story to hotspot? Californians point to White House negligence and people acting recklessly. Half (49%) say the White House is downplaying the danger of COVID-19 and diminishing effective disease defenses such as mask-wearing, testing, and social distancing; (44%) say people in their state have acted reckless by not following safety protocols; and (35%) say people in their state lack concern for the pandemic and a lack of consistent, unified messaging from the White House.

 

  • Gov. Newsom issued a mask mandate in mid-June but, as the LA Times details, is having trouble enforcing the law. One-third of Californians (31%) say there is no incentive for people to follow state recommended safety protocols (e.g., masks) as they were not enforced requirements.
  • Was California one of the states that re-opened too soon? As Gov. Newsom backtracks on re-opening, nearly one-quarter (23%) of Californians say their state re-opened too soon and did not meet the criteria to reopen. Nearly one-fifth (18%) think their state reopened in a cavalier manner, without critical systems in place to manage and track the virus transmission.

Shifts Across the Country

  • Willingness to make sacrifices is starting to wane across the country: While Americans are still willing to make sacrifices to help get America through coronavirus, the numbers are going down. Since March 30th, the percentage of Americans who would be willing to quarantine indoors declined 10 percentage points (78%, down from 88%) and those willing to stop all travel domestically declined 12 percentage points (76% down from 88%). 
  • The pent-up desire to socialize and return to normalcy is gaining on safety: Since March 23rd, the percentage of Americans who said they would follow a mandated restriction of convening with groups no larger than 10 people and no dining in bars and restaurants saw a decrease of 9% and 10% respectively (84% and 83% down from 93% and 93% respectively).

Takeaway

There are two camps of philosophy when it comes to lockdowns in America; those in opposition say lock-downs put greater strain on our economy (61%) while also threatening our fundamental American freedoms and rights (47%); meanwhile, those in support say we need to make sacrifices now if we want any real chance at fighting COVID-19 (55%) and unless mandated to stay home, people won’t follow the safety protocols and guidelines (52%). One thing is true, COVID-19 is not waiting for us to reconcile our differences; leaders must be decisive and act swiftly.