Nearly two-thirds of Americans are concerned social restrictions to combat the coronavirus pandemic will be lifted too quickly, even as President Donald Trump urges the country to get back to normal as soon as possible, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center.
In a survey of 4,917 U.S. adults on the nonpartisan group’s trends panel, Pew found a majority of people from both parties were worried about the duration of measures like stay-at-home orders and social distancing. But 81% of Democrats were more worried that restrictions would be lifted too quickly, as compared with 51% of Republicans who had that concern.
“With substantial limits in place on public activity in most states to combat the coronavirus outbreak, 66% of Americans say they are more concerned that these restrictions will be lifted too quickly, while 32% say they are more concerned they won’t be lifted quickly enough,” Pew found.
The economy has been devastated since cases of the coronavirus first hit American shores. Around 22 million people have filed for jobless benefits in the past month, by far the worst stretch of job losses in American history.
Many respondents placed some blame on Trump himself for the state of the pandemic in America. 65% said the White House had acted too slowly to take major steps to stop the spread of the virus, although opinions were largely along party lines.
The president has still refused to institute any nationwide stay-at-home orders, leaving that authority to governors.
The survey was conducted between April 7 and 12, but infection rates have only gotten progressively worse over the last week: Cases have continued to spread and more than 662,000 people in the U.S. have now been infected with the coronavirus. More than 28,000 have died, many in New York, an epicenter of the pandemic.
On Thursday, the country saw its worst 24-hour death rate since the outbreak began. 4,591 people died in the country, nearly double the previous single-day record.
Trump released a three-phase plan to reopen the economy on Thursday, saying the country was getting ready to start “our life” and the “rejuvenation of our economy again.” The results this week weren’t all bad for the president. 51% of Americans said Trump had done an excellent or good job to address the economic needs of businesses, although that support falls to just 46% when asked if he has supported those who have lost their jobs or income.
“America wants to be open and Americans want to be open,” Trump said during the daily coronavirus briefing at the White House. “A national shutdown is not a sustainable long-term solution. To preserve the health of our citizens, we must also preserve the health and functioning of our economy.”
Pew found that many Americans are also concerned about the future even amid assurances from the president that many states were in “very good shape.” 73% of people said the “worst is still to come” in the outbreak, including 56% of Republicans.
“With the Trump administration and many state governors actively considering ways to revive the stalled U.S. economy, the public strikes a decidedly cautious note on easing strict limits on public activity,” Pew found.
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