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Data: Axios/Ipsos survey of 1,092 U.S. adults, conducted March 13-16, 2020. Margin of error of ±3.2 percentage points; Chart: Axios Visuals

The threat of a coronavirus outbreak started to weigh on Americans’ mental and emotional health even before they began to embrace the most important preventive measures, according to a new polling partnership between Axios and Ipsos.

Why it matters: Several more weeks of social distancing, including school closures and widespread shutdowns of public spaces, while the outbreak itself continues to grow, will only make that existential toll grow larger.

By the numbers: This national survey of 1,092 adults was conducted March 13-16 — a tipping-point period in which dire official warnings and tight new restrictions heightened awareness of just how bad the pandemic could be.

  • Just 8% of the people in our survey said their physical health had gotten worse over the preceding week, but 22% said their mental health had taken a hit and 29% said their emotional well-being had gotten worse.
  • Nearly 80% said they’re concerned about the coronavirus.

Between the lines: Public-health measures to slow the virus seemed to be gaining a foothold in this period, but were not yet universal.

  • 64% said they had stopped shaking hands in the past week, but 53% said they had not canceled or skipped large gatherings.

What’s next: This is the first installment in a new project — the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index. It will be a weekly barometer of how the pandemic is affecting Americans’ health, finances, trust and quality of life. So stay tuned for more.

Methodology: This Axios/Ipsos Poll was conducted March 13-16 by Ipsos' KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 1,092 general population adults age 18 or older.

  • The margin of sampling error is +/-3.2 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample of adults.

Go deeper

Updated 38 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Ipsos poll: COVID trick-or-treat — Study: Trump campaign rallies likely led to over 700 COVID-related deaths.
  2. World: Boris Johnson announces month-long lockdown in England — Greece tightens coronavirus restrictions as Europe cases spike — Austria reimposes coronavirus lockdowns amid surge of infections.
  3. Technology: Fully at-home rapid COVID test to move forward.
  4. States: New York rolls out new testing requirements for visitors.

North Carolina police pepper-spray protesters marching to the polls

Officers in North Carolina used pepper spray on protesters and arrested eight people at a get-out-the-vote rally at Alamance County’s courthouse Saturday during the final day of early voting, the City of Graham Police Department confirmed.

Driving the news: The peaceful "I Am Change" march to the polls was organized by Rev. Greg Drumwright, from the Citadel Church in Greensboro, N.C., and included a minute's silence for George Floyd. Melanie Mitchell told the News & Observer her daughters, age 5 and 11, were among those pepper-sprayed by police soon after.

7 hours ago - Health

Boris Johnson announces month-long COVID-19 lockdown in England

Prime Minsiter Boris Johnson. Photo: NurPhoto / Getty Images

A new national lockdown will be imposed in England, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Saturday, as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country topped 1 million.

Details: Starting Thursday, people in England must stay at home, and bars and restaurants will close, except for takeout and deliveries. All non-essential retail will also be shuttered. Different households will be banned from mixing indoors. International travel, unless for business purposes, will be banned. The new measures will last through at least December 2.