Mar 24, 2020 - Health

Coronavirus' growing emotional toll

Data: Axios/Ipsos surveys of 1,092 U.S. adults, conducted March 13-16, and 998 adults, conducted March 20-23, 2020. Margin of error of ±3.2 and ±3.3 percentage points; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The response to the coronavirus outbreak is increasingly taxing Americans' mental and emotional health, according to the second installment of our Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

By the numbers: Last week, just 29% of the people we surveyed said their emotional well-being had gotten worse lately. This week, that's up to 43% — compared with a much more modest increase in the number of people who said their physical health has deteriorated.

Between the lines: This change was particularly evident among people who said they've had to start working from home, and our survey showed a sharp uptick in the number of Americans who have started undertaking various social-distancing measures.

  • 74% said they had canceled or skipped large gatherings — that number was below 50% a week ago.
  • 25% said they've gone out to eat in the past week, down from 56%.

Go deeper

Poll: Americans' access to necessities worsens


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

Even with the brunt of store closings yet to take effect, a full 45% of Americans said last week that their ability to buy food and household goods had deteriorated, according the newly launched Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

What it is: A weekly poll introduced last week by Axios and the global research firm Ipsos will monitor the effects of the global pandemic on people's attitudes and living conditions.

Virus vices take a toll on Americans

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Americans are doubling down on their worst habits to cope with the mental and emotional stress of the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: The pandemic will have a long-lasting impact on the health of the American people, in part due to the habits they'll pick up during the weeks and months they're forced to stay home.

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Surgeon general: This week will be "Pearl Harbor" or "9/11 moment" in U.S.

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on "Fox News Sunday" that the next week will be "the hardest and the saddest week of most Americans' lives" — calling it our "our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment" — as the projected death toll from the coronavirus pandemic surges.

Why it matters: Unlike those tragedies, Adams emphasized that the direct effects of the coronavirus will not be "localized" and that it will be happening "all over the country." But he also stressed that the public has the "power to change the trajectory of this epidemic" by following social distancing and other public health guidelines.

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