February 5, 2020
NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll Results & Analysis, February 2020
Concerns About Coronavirus, But Not Close to Home
About two in three Americans perceive the coronavirus to be a real threat, and a majority express a great deal or good amount of concern about its potential spread in the United States. However, fewer Americans worry about its impact in their local community. More than six in ten Americans think U.S. government officials are doing enough to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in the United States.
66% of U.S. residents consider the coronavirus to be a real threat and not a situation that has been blown out of proportion (27%). Americans age 45 or older (72%) are more likely than younger Americans (57%) to think the coronavirus represents a real danger to people in the U.S.
A majority of Americans (56%) report they are either very concerned or concerned about the spread of the coronavirus in the United States. 43% are not very concerned or not concerned at all. Two in three Americans who are 45 years of age or older (66%) and women (64%) express a notable amount of concern about the contagion. This compares with 40% of younger Americans and 47% of men who worry that the coronavirus will spread here in the United States.
However, Americans are less concerned that the coronavirus will be an issue in their own backyards. A majority of Americans (55%) report they are not very concerned or not concerned at all that the illness will spread in their community. 44% are, at least, somewhat worried. Again, opinions fall along age and gender lines. Americans 45 or older (54%) are nearly twice as likely as those under 45 years old (28%) to be concerned. A majority of women (52%), compared with 35% of men, say they are very concerned or concerned that the coronavirus will spread in their community.
The coronavirus is having little impact on Americans’ travel plans. Only 1% report they have changed their travel plans due to the coronavirus.
Many Americans (61%) are confident that U.S. government officials are doing enough to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in the United States. 26% say they are not doing enough. Regardless of demographic group, at least a majority say they think government officials are taking enough action to protect the American people. Of note, men (67%) are more likely than women (54%) to have this view.
Media reports have had an impact on Americans’ awareness of the coronavirus. 68% report they have heard a great deal (42%) or good amount (27%) about the coronavirus. 32% have heard just a little (28%) or nothing at all (4%) about it.