Aug 11, 2020 - Health

Axios-Ipsos poll: 1 in 2 has a personal connection to the virus

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

We've hit a tipping point in the pandemic: Half of Americans now know someone who's tested positive, according to this week's installment of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: In practical terms, this data shows it's everybody's problem now.

  • Week 20 of our national survey also finds some collateral health damage from being home more: 38% of Americans say they're gaining weight. (It's higher among those self-quarantining.)
  • There's also a silver lining: 36% of parents are spending more time with their kids (11% say now they have less).

By the numbers: An even 50% of respondents now say they know someone who's tested positive for the coronavirus — up from 46% last week and 41% a month ago. As the numbers have grown, the predictors have blurred.

  • 55% of Democrats, 49% of Republicans and 44% of independents surveyed know someone who tested positive.
  • That holds for 51% of Midwesterners and Southerners, 49% from the Northeast and 47% in Western states.
  • One in four Americans knows someone in their own community who's tested positive. One in five knows someone who's died from the virus. And one in five Americans has been tested.

What they're saying: "The coronavirus is becoming reality for most people and it will only increase," said Cliff Young, president of Ipsos U.S. Public Affairs.

  • "You still might find large partisan differences, differences in the perceptions of its lethality.
  • "It is a shared experience," Young said. "But that doesn't mean everyone will deal with it in the same way."

Between the lines: As an uncertain new school year approaches, the survey finds that parents actually may be slightly less worried than everyone else about the notion of kids physically returning to class.

  • 74% of non-parents expressed concern about schools in their communities reopening too soon, compared with 67% of parents.
  • 8% of parents with children under 18 say they've already sent their kids back to school in person, while 19% say they've already sent them back via distance learning.

This week's data also supports an idea that Axios' Felix Salmon has been writing about: Americans' fears about catching the virus in an elevator could complicate efforts to return to work in high-rise office buildings.

  • 74% of respondents see riding in an elevator with other people as a large or moderate risk.
  • Women (79%) are more likely than men (70%) to see it as risky.
  • But party ID is a bigger predictor: 97% of Democrats, 75% of independents and 60% of Republicans see it as risky.
  • People are more than twice as likely to assess a "large risk" to the elevator than to returning to work at an indoor office.

Methodology: This Axios/Ipsos Poll was conducted August 7-10 by Ipsos' KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 1,076 general population adults age 18 or older.

  • The margin of sampling error is ±3.1 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample of adults.

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