Majority says US should have been shut down earlier amid coronavirus outbreak: poll

A majority of polled Americans believe the U.S. should have been shut down earlier to stop the spread of the coronavirus, according to a new Harvard CAPS-Harris poll released exclusively to The Hill. 

Fifty-seven percent of respondents said they believed action should have been taken earlier to shut down the country, while 43 percent said there was not enough information to shut down the U.S. earlier. 

Additionally, 75 percent said that a full shutdown of the U.S. was necessary to stop the spread of the virus. 

The poll comes after Trump announced measures last week to gradually reopen the U.S. economy in three phases. The plan recommends that states see a downward trajectory in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases as well as flu-like symptoms before they move to lift stay-at-home orders and other restrictions meant to curb the spread of the virus.

The greater New York City area continues to be the epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has been praised for his handling of the crisis, however, the same poll found that 63 percent of respondents said the state should have been shut down earlier. Another 37 percent said state officials did not have enough information to make the call earlier. 

“The voters say, especially in New York, that the policies should have started even earlier but no suggestion that they are holding public officials at the state or federal government responsible,” Harvard CAPS-Harris polling director Mark Penn told The Hill. 
The Harvard CAPS-Harris survey was conducted April 14-16 by The Harris Poll among 2,394 registered voters. Results were weighted for age within gender, region, race and ethnicity, marital status, household size, income, employment, education, political party and political ideology where necessary to align them with their actual proportions in the population.

Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

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