Data: Harris Poll of 4,069 adults; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Over the past week, American attitudes toward the coronavirus have become dramatically more serious, as the U.S. has seen an uptick in positive cases and precautionary measures, according to a new survey provided exclusively to Axios by The Harris Poll.

Why it matters: The data shows that the public has developed a heightened sense awareness around the virus, and is losing its feeling of invulnerability.

  • More people are worried about hospitals running out of ventilators, fewer people are willing to shake hands with others, and roughly a quarter of the population fears dying from the virus. 
  • More people say they have canceled or postponed upcoming travel plans due to the coronavirus.

By the numbers: More Americans are taking precautionary measures.

  • More than 80% of Americans say they've increased washing their hands since the virus outbreak and more than 70% say they now use hand sanitizer.
  • A majority of Americans say they're stocking up on bottled water, canned goods, frozen food and toilet paper.

Between the lines: The survey also finds that more Americans are quickly changing their purchasing habits, which could have implications for the economy.

  • More than one-quarter of respondents (27%) say that the virus has had "major impacts" on their shopping habits.
  • More than half (53%) of respondents said Wednesday they that were no longer willing to go shopping, up from 43% just a few days ago.

Be smart: America's wake-up call comes as the administration and local governments have shown more signs that they are taking the spread of the virus seriously.

  • In recent days, more than half of the states in the U.S. have closed schools, cities have announced shelter-in-place orders and the White House has advised that no more than 10 people gather at a time.
  • That level of increased attention from the top seems to be resonating with Americans, as more say they regularly get information from the White House and state governors than they did when the survey was first deployed a week ago.

The bottom line: Americans are finally beginning to take the coronavirus seriously.

Go deeper

Updated 22 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Tim Scott says Trump "misspoke" when he told Proud Boys to "stand by"

Photo: Bonnie Cash/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) told reporters on Wednesday that he believes President Trump "misspoke" when he told the far-right "Proud Boys" group to "stand back and stand by" in response to a question about condemning white supremacy at the first presidential debate.

Catch up quick: Moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump on Tuesday, "Are you willing, tonight, to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down?" Trump asked who specifically he should condemn, and then responded, "Proud Boys, stand back and stand by. But I'll tell you what, somebody's got to do something about antifa and the left."

Updated 30 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Commission on Presidential Debates wants changes

Photos: Jim Watson and Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Commission on Presidential Debates announced Wednesday that it plans to implement changes to rules for the remaining debates, after Tuesday night's head-to-head between Joe Biden and Donald Trump was practically incoherent for most of the night.

What they are saying: "Last night's debate made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues," the CPD said in a statement.

Trump says he doesn't know who Proud Boys are after telling them to "stand by"

President Trump told reporters on Wednesday that he doesn't know who the Proud Boys are, after saying at the presidential debate last night that the far-right group should "stand back and stand by" in response to a question asking him to condemn white supremacists.

Why it matters: The comments set off outrage and calls for clarification from a number of Republican senators. After being asked several times on Wednesday whether he will condemn white supremacy, Trump responded, "I have always denounced any form — any form of any of that, you have to denounce. But I also — Joe Biden has to say something about antifa."