Mar 24, 2020 - Health

Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index: Everything's worse

Data: Axios/Ipsos survey, margin of error of ±3.3 percentage points; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Nine in 10 Americans are now concerned about the coronavirus, according to the latest Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index — with half worried about their jobs and their ability to pay the bills.

Why it matters: The second installment of our weekly survey shows sudden, massive changes to how we work, shop, socialize and care for ourselves and our families. The numbers also reflect an overwhelming sentiment that things are getting worse.

By the numbers:

  • Roughly twice as many Americans say they're out of work compared to last week's survey, while four in 10 are working remotely, compared to just 21% a week ago.
  • There's been a sharp increase in Americans who say their emotional well-being has declined in the past week, while the share of Americans self-quarantining has quadrupled.
  • People trust their employers (68%) far more than they trust the federal government (53%) to look out for their best interests.
  • The national survey was conducted Friday through Monday (March 20-23), a week into President Trump's declaration of a national emergency.

One big question: Are working from home and self-quarantining feeding our anxiety and pessimism, or are these coincidences that reflect the reality on the ground?

  • While causation can't be determined from this survey, those working from home tended to rate worse than others on worry and mental health, but not physically or financially.

What they're saying: "We’ve never seen this widespread, systemic, forced behavioral change — never in American history — this quickly," said Cliff Young, president of Ipsos U.S. Public Affairs. "It’s unprecedented."

The big picture: The changes are taking place across health, consumer and workplace measures.

  • The survey found major increases in skipping large gatherings and canceling travel plans, and big decreases in going out to eat or visiting friends or relatives.
  • Two in three said access to food and household needs got worse, and one in four said they were less able to afford those goods. Toilet paper and hand sanitizer were harder to find than a week before.
  • Mental and emotional health is still eroding more significantly than physical health.
  • One in five say it's harder to take care of their households.
  • Partisan divisions are narrowing when it comes to how seriously to take the virus. A 21-point gap last week between Democrats and Republicans has narrowed to 11, with 95% of Democrats and 84% of Republicans now saying they are concerned about the coronavirus. 
  • Overall, trust in news sources, government and health organizations rose slightly over the past week.

Between the lines: One area where the numbers haven't really moved yet is known exposure to infections, though that was shaped by the ongoing lack of available testing.

  • Just 1 percent of those surveyed said they'd been tested for the virus, while 8 percent said they'd tried but were turned away.
  • 5% said they know someone who's tested positive, compared with 4% last week.
  • 14% said their physical health got worse in the last week, up from 8%.
  • One in four now say their ability to access health care is worse, up from 9%.

Methodology: This Axios/Ipsos Poll was conducted March 20-23 by Ipsos' KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 998 general population adults age 18 or older.

  • The margin of sampling error is +/-3.3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample of adults.
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