Eight in 10 Americans are worried about a second wave of the coronavirus, with large majorities saying they’ll resume social distancing, dial back shopping and keep their kids out of school if it happens, in Week 13 of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.
Why it matters: Businesses and schools around the country are trying to assess how quickly and fully they should reopen based in part on what Americans will demand and tolerate. These findings underscore the challenges in predicting how they should proceed.
- But getting Americans to swallow a second round of 14-day self-quarantining could be tougher than getting them to go back to social distancing, with one in three saying they likely won’t do it.
- The biggest factor is partisan identification, with 81% of Democrats but only 49% of Republicans saying they’ll self-quarantine if a second wave hits.
The big picture: The latest installment of our national weekly survey shows a renewed sense of risk following reports of new hospitalizations since states began lifting stay-at-home orders — but quarantine fatigue is still driving people to take their chances.
- People’s assessment of large or moderate risk grew last week for each of these categories: returning to their normal workplace, dining out, retail shopping, going to the hair salon or participating in protests.
- But the share of those going out to eat rose from 31% to 41%. Those visiting friends or relatives rose from 56% to 60%. Those getting their hair done rose from 26% to 31%. Those attending demonstrations rose from 11% to 14%.
What they’re saying: “People are starting to be concerned about it again,” said pollster Chris Jackson, senior vice president for Ipsos Public Affairs. “We’re not yet seeing changes in the patterns of their behavior yet, though.”
- “Their behaviors are not really catching up to their concern level.”
By the numbers: 81% say they’re concerned about a second wave — including those who are extremely (30%), very (26%) or somewhat (24%) concerned.
- 64% of those surveyed say returning to their normal pre-coronavirus life represents a large or moderate risk, up from 57% a week ago.
- The share of people extremely or very concerned about getting sick rose from 32% to 40% last week. Those fearing U.S. economic collapse rose from 48% to 54%.
- There also were upticks in people’s concerns about job security and the government’s response to the outbreak.
- Americans’ ability to afford household goods also decreased.
- One in 10 surveyed say they’ve been collecting unemployment benefits in recent weeks.
- 35% of Americans now know someone who’s tested positive, a new high for the survey.
Between the lines: The survey suggests an evolving understanding of the racial disparities in the pandemic.
- The share of those saying they are extremely or very concerned that the coronavirus is doing greater damage to people of color rose from 36% to 42%.
- The share of those extremely or very concerned that official responses are biased against certain groups also rose from 36% to 42%.