Poll finds Americans see infectious diseases, terrorism, cyberattacks as top threats

Poll finds Americans see infectious diseases, terrorism, cyberattacks as top threats
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Americans rank the spread of infectious disease, terrorist attacks and cyberattacks as the top national security threats, a study released by the Pew Research Center on Monday found. 

Pew researchers found that 79 percent of those surveyed ranking the spread of infectious diseases, such as COVID-19, as the top threat to the country. More than 70 percent of those polled identified cyberattacks from other countries and the spread of nuclear weapons as major threats.

Concerns around threats from global warming, the economy and global poverty were also cited as national threats by those polled. 

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The results were compiled based on calls throughout March with 1,000 American adults, with the calls taking place as COVID-19 spread throughout the world and became a pandemic. The researchers saw a noted spike in those polled identifying infectious diseases as a top threat as the month went on. 

“Worries about both the threat of infectious diseases and the condition of the global economy rose after President Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpDeSantis on Florida schools reopening: 'If you can do Walmart,' then 'we absolutely can do schools' NYT editorial board calls for the reopening of schools with help from federal government's 'checkbook' Mueller pens WaPo op-ed: Roger Stone 'remains a convicted felon, and rightly so' MORE declared a national emergency on March 13,” the researchers noted. 

The researchers found generational and political-party gaps in those who identified certain issues as major threats. Those who identified as Republicans were more likely to point to terrorism and migration between countries as top national national threats, while Democrats saw issues including increasing Russian power, global poverty and climate change as higher threats. 

Republicans and Democrats were found to be equally concerned with the spread of infectious diseases. 

Older Americans ranked wide-ranging issues as serious threats, while those younger than 30 were less concerned about national security risks, with the exception of climate change. 

The findings were released as COVID-19 cases continue to rise globally. Hackers have used the crisis to target major health agencies such as the World Health Organization and the Department of Health and Human Services, along with sending malicious emails to members of the public designed to steal money or personal information.