Mar 19, 2020 - Health

Fears about the coronavirus and the U.S. government's response are growing

Axios' Sara Fischer and founder Jim VandeHei. Photo: Axios Events

Americans' coronavirus fears are increasing as they continue to worry the federal government is unprepared to deal with the spread of infections, The Harris Poll's Mark Penn discussed at an Axios event on Thursday.

Why it matters: The country, from local governments to the White House, is taking the coronavirus much more seriously now than when the outbreak first began. However, the U.S. is battling an overabundance of information, some accurate and some not, while trying to prepare the health care system for the worst.

What they're saying:

  • Mark Penn: "Very large numbers approve of the government response. But if you ask them about the need for stimulus, ... whether it's a payroll tax cut or a check or lower interest rates or bailout, basically their attitude is, 'you better do something'...Most people think the government needs to do more."
  • Axios' Sara Fischer: "Reporters have an obligation to tell people through a data-driven clinical lense. So people might say, 'Hey, this feels overcovered.' But at the end of the day, what the data is showing us is, in fact, most people are not taking this seriously enough."
  • Axios' Caitlin Owens: "What is going to happen, almost inevitably is we are going to see a spike in cases soon, in the next few days...Right now, the problem is, America's hospitals do not have the beds or the equipment that statically will need care. That's why you are seeing triage units being set-up outside of hospitals."

Go deeper: Americans are losing their sense of invincibility toward coronavirus

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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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