Apr 7, 2020 - Health

Public wants federal government, not states, in charge on coronavirus

Data: KFF Health Tracking Poll, March 25-30, 2020; Chart: Axios Visuals

President Trump has repeatedly said that he sees the federal government’s role as “backup” to the states on the response to coronavirus. But Americans want the federal government — not states — to take the lead, according to our latest KFF tracking poll.

Why it matters: States have so far been the ones issuing specific directives about social distancing, and are also trying to source health care supplies.

By the numbers: 60% of the people we surveyed said the federal government should be primarily responsible for the coronavirus response, almost double the 32% who say their own state should be primarily responsible.

Yes, but: More than half — 52% — say their state is actually leading the response, not the federal government.

  • There’s a big partisan breakdown in these perceptions.
  • Nearly seven in 10 Democrats say their state is leading the response, while 53% of Republicans say it’s the federal government.
  • People in states with stay-at-home orders are more likely to say their state government is leading the response.

The bottom line: The public seems to believe that in a health crisis of this magnitude, with a virus that doesn’t stop at state or international borders and the death toll mounting, a more uniform and aggressive national response is needed.

Go deeper

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced plans Tuesday to make wearing face coverings mandatory statewide for most people over the age of 10 when inside public places. The measure is effective Friday and applies to places like retailers, on public transportation and government buildings.

By the numbers: More than 98,900 people have died from the novel coronavirus and over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Over 384,900 Americans have recovered and more than 14.9 million tests have been conducted.

The polarized pandemic election

A Trump supporter protests Pennsylvania's stay-at-home order, during a May 15 rally outside the Capitol in Harrisburg. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

President Trump is going all-in on pushing for a rapid, robust return to normal life, creating a visual, visceral contrast with Joe Biden and other Democrats who are more reticent to rip the masks off.

The state of play: Business friends have been urging Trump from the beginning to keep the lockdowns short. He's listening more and more.

When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidance over Memorial Day weekend outlining when Americans can stop self-isolating after contracting the novel coronavirus.

Why it matters: Nearly all states across the U.S. have relaxed stay-at-home orders to jumpstart economic reopenings, per a New York Times analysis. As more Americans venture outside their homes, they have to decide what precautions they're willing to take, and what they'll do to protect others.