Story at a glance

  • The poll found 9 in 10 Americans have stopped going to bars and restaurants and are practicing social distancing.
  • More than 3 in 4 Americans say the coronavirus outbreak has disrupted their lives.
  • The United States now leads the world in confirmed coronavirus cases.

A new poll shows the majority of Americans are staying home as much as possible to avoid becoming infected with COVID-19, as the United States now has the largest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the world. 

A Washington Post-ABC News poll found roughly 9 in 10 Americans say they are staying home as much as possible and practicing social distancing to avoid becoming infected with the virus. The poll says nearly 9 in 10 have stopped going to bars and restaurants, while about 6 in 10 have stockpiled food and household supplies. That’s compared to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) taken less than two weeks ago that found 40 percent of Americans said their lives had been disrupted with only 16 percent calling those disruptions significant, according to The Washington Post. In the Post-ABC poll, more than 3 in 4 now say the coronavirus outbreak has disrupted their life, with half saying there has been “a lot” of disruption. 

The dramatic change in Americans’ lives comes as the U.S. surpassed 85,000 confirmed cases with 1,300 deaths. The U.S. had more than 14,000 new cases Wednesday, and the number of new cases announced each day continues to climb.

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States across the nation have announced stay-at-home orders while the federal government has advised Americans to practice social distancing to avoid spreading the virus. President Trump told governors Thursday that his administration was planning to issue new guidelines based on geographic risk factors for COVID-19.  


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The Washington Post-ABC News survey also found more Americans are more stressed about the coronavirus outbreak than they were during the Great Recession. At least 7 in 10 said the virus outbreak is a source of stress, and 1 in 3 said it caused “serious” stress. During the recession, fewer than 6 in 10 said the economy was a source of stress, according to The Washington Post

Most Americans, 7 in 10, say they are concerned they or someone in their immediate family could become infected with COVID-19, with 56 percent saying they feel at risk and 20 percent believing they are at high risk. 

About 1 in 10 say they know someone who has been diagnosed, but roughly four times as many say people in their community have been diagnosed.

In terms of testing, about 1 out of 10 Americans say they have been tested for COVID-19, and more than 9 in 10 say they do not know anyone who has been refused a coronavirus test. 

The poll was conducted from March 22-25 among a random national sample of more than 1,000 adults surveyed by telephone.


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Published on Mar 27, 2020