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.

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