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Americans differ in the effects of COVID-19 – CBS News poll



  • Many Americans see changes in the price or availability of the foods they want.
  • Most Americans believe that children are at risk from the virus.
  • Partisanship defines different realities: You see differences in which communities are most affected – how high the death toll actually is.
  • And half suspect that the coronavirus was deliberately created by humans – a view that is strongly divided by partisanship and level of education.

Americans see large differences in class, race, and geographic health boundaries that they believe are most affected by the coronavirus: the working class, more than the rich; Cities and suburbs, more than rural areas; African American and Hispanic communities, more than white communities; and more in older than younger people ̵

1; although most today believe that children can be affected.

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Views of who is affected do not vary widely by age or gender, but partiality plays a major role in perception. Democrats are often more likely than Republicans to believe that groups will be affected. Democrats are much more likely to believe that the suburbs will be badly affected; that black and Hispanic communities will be badly affected; and that working class people will be very affected. The two partisan groups have comparable views that older people and cities are affected.

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Children in danger?

Most Americans believe that children are at risk for the virus. Older Americans are more likely to believe this, and here – as in many aspects of the pandemic – more Democrats than Republicans believe that this is the case, although they believe that older people will have a greater impact on the overall impact than younger people.

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Origin of the virus

Partisans even differ in where the virus comes from. Most Democrats (70%) say it is something that comes from nature, while most Republicans (67%) believe that it was created by people on purpose. Here, too, the level of education plays a role: most college graduates and postgraduates believe that it comes from nature, while those without a college degree believe that the virus was caused by humans.

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food supply

Almost one in five Americans reports a food shortage in the sense that they cannot find the groceries that they have usually been buying recently. Another third states that the prices of things they buy regularly have increased.

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It is Americans with lower incomes who notice the most higher prices. While 41% of those earning less than $ 50,000 a year say that food is offered at much higher prices than usual, only 28% of Americans who earn more than $ 100,000 a year say the same thing.

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Number of fatalities

The death toll from the virus has been a topic of discussion, both in terms of what it could be and as a grim measure of how the country is doing.

When asked what is the largest number of deaths that could still represent a successful US response to the outbreak, 41% say that too many people have been killed. With the increasing number of fatalities, the reach of many people also increases, which would constitute successful containment.

But there are sharp party-political differences in what success means. While 55% of Democrats say that there have been too many deaths, a quarter of Republicans say the same. Another 22% of the Republicans say it would be a success if the toll was kept below 100,000, while only 10% of the Democrats said so.

Almost half of Americans (47%) say the death toll is actually higher than reported. A third say it is actually smaller and the remaining 20% ​​say it is about what is reported.

Two thirds of the Democrats say it is bigger; Half of the Republicans say it is smaller. and independents are fairly evenly divided between the two answers.

Americans are aware that tens of thousands have died, but vary when they guess the actual number. When asked what they think the number is, 29% choose a range from 75,000 to 100,000. Another 32% vote up to 75,000, including almost half of the Republicans. And 21% say the number is over 100,000, including a quarter of the Democrats.


This CBS News survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 2,000 U.S. citizens who were interviewed between May 11 and 13, 2020. This sample was weighted by gender, age, race, and education, based on the U.S. community survey Bureau of the Census conducted by the United States and the 2016 presidential election and registration status. The error rate is +/- 2.7 points.

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