Americans worry COVID-19 outbreak will worsen as things reopen – CBS News poll

News

As areas around the country reopen, most fear the coronavirus pandemic will now get worse as a result of reopening, and most continue to say the effort against the outbreak is going badly. 

By about two to one, Americans worry the reopening is going to make the outbreak worse, rather than have no effect.

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More than six in 10 Americans also say the reopening over the next few months will help the economy recover — but by three to one, they say it will recover slowly, not quickly.

CBS News Polls 

Americans continue to say the virus is having a disproportionate impact among minority communities.

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Going Out

As they go out, most Americans describe returning only to some public places, depending on their needs or how safe they appear; fewer report returning to as many public places as they used to, even if they’re open.

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Negative assessments of the outbreak have come slightly off their lows of two weeks ago — though not dramatically. A majority continue to say efforts against the outbreak are still going badly.

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Democrats and Republicans are little changed, with Democrats largely thinking things are going badly and Republicans largely thinking things are going well. But independents are now more positive, and 41% now think things are going somewhat well, up from 36% in mid-May.

Personal concern about themselves or a family member contracting coronavirus hasn’t changed much and is still comparable to March. Seven in 10 Americans remain at least somewhat concerned, including three in 10 who are very concerned.

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Reopening

Most continue to think the top priority for the country should be for people to stay at home and slow the spread of the virus, rather than to get back to work and get the economy going. This is also little changed from last month.

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But while nearly all Democrats and most independents think this should be the priority, Republicans are increasingly likely to say the priority should be to open the economy.

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The public’s view of how Donald Trump has handled the coronavirus outbreak remains overall negative, with 45% saying he’s doing a good job. It had dropped to 43% over the past months as the death toll increased.

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Even as new hotspots emerge in the country, Americans continue to think the coronavirus will have the most relative impact in cities, instead of suburbs and rural communities — however they foresee lower impact now across all areas than they did a few weeks ago. This perception of decreased impact holds across party lines, and holds regardless of which type of community a person lives in.

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Americans are a little more positive about the national economy, though most still stay it is bad. Views are largely negative among Democrats, Republicans, and independents, but views have improved slightly among the latter two groups since May: from 14% to 23% among independents and 36% to 40% among Republicans.

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This CBS News survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 2,071 U.S. residents interviewed between May 29 – June 1, 2020. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, as well as 2016 presidential vote and registration status. The margin of error is ± 2.6 points.

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First published on June 2, 2020 / 7:00 AM

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