Aug. 19, 2020
Americans' initial hope that the disruption caused by the coronavirus would end quickly has faded. Instead, after five months of living through the pandemic, Americans have come to expect the disruption to last beyond this year. Half expressed this for the first time last week, with the 51% saying so up five percentage points from the prior week.
Line graph. Weekly trends since March 13 in Americans perception of length of time it will take before the disruption caused by the coronavirus starts to improve. In March more than 80% thought it would take a few more weeks or months but that gradually declined to roughly 20% in recent weeks. Now the slight majority of 51% think it will take longer than this year.
Gallup's recent articles explore how Americans perceive the seriousness of the pandemic and how they are coping with it in their daily lives.
How Much Americans Worry About COVID-19
Pandemic fears: Americans' belief that the pandemic is getting worse wobbles from week to week but has remained high since the fourth week of June. Gallup's Zach Hrynowski summarized various Gallup indicators of public concern about the pandemic last week, and since then the percentage saying the coronavirus situation is getting worse has held steady at 61%. Fewer -- about four in 10 -- worry about the availability of testing and hospital supplies, and those figures too have since remained the same.
Line graph. Weekly trend since April 6 in Americans belief that the coronavirus situation is getting better or staying the same or getting worse. After improving for much of May and June Americans outlook turned negative in June and the majority continue to say things are getting worse.
COVID-19 as top problem: After slipping into a tie with race relations and government leadership in June, the percentage of Americans citing the coronavirus as the "most important problem" facing the U.S. jumped 10 points in July and is back in the top spot.
Steps Americans Can Take to Protect Themselves
Looking ahead to a vaccine: Gallup recently asked Americans if they would agree to be vaccinated once an FDA-approved vaccine becomes available, and assuming the vaccine is free. Just shy of two-thirds say they would get vaccinated, while about a third say they would not.
Face masks: Nine in 10 Americans now report wearing a face mask in the past seven days, but people are much more vigilant about "always" or "usually" donning them in indoor settings when they can't socially distance (86%) than in outdoor settings (47%). These data feature strong partisan differences.
Americans' Comfort With Normal Activities Amongst COVID-19
K-12 education: U.S. parents' preferences for their children's schooling have changed since the end of the 2019-2020 school year. While at that point a slight majority wanted their children to go back to school in person in the fall, today about a third feel this way, with the rest wanting full- or part-time remote learning.
Dining out: The new Franklin Templeton-Gallup Economics of Recovery Study finds that families with children in the household (and possibly in need of diversions) are more willing to venture out to restaurants during the pandemic than are those without children. Also, younger adults are more likely than middle-aged and older adults to report dining out. This research also offers insights into how reducing seating capacity affects people's comfort with engaging in this once ordinary behavior.
Flying: The toll that the pandemic has taken on air travel is also reflected in the new Franklin Templeton-Gallup study. Half of U.S. adults who flew at least once in the past year now say they are not comfortable flying at all. Most of the rest would be comfortable with a short flight of under three hours rather than a longer flight.
Gallup's COVID-19 Data Resources
Links to all of Gallup's articles about the pandemic are available on this master list of COVID-19 news articles, sorted by topic.
The Gallup News home page always features the latest findings from our ongoing COVID-19 research and offers helpful summary pages to direct you to specific content. These include:
This blog highlights the key insights drawn from our top news articles and is updated regularly. Please bookmark and visit often. If you are a member of the media interested in getting the latest updates on Gallup's COVID-19 coverage, or being notified when this page is updated, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Review Gallup's findings on all aspects of the COVID-19 crisis:
Past blog entries appear below.
July 27, 2020
The coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the U.S. -- particularly the Sun Belt states -- and Gallup's ongoing tracking survey finds that Americans' outlook is gloomy. This week's recap highlights recent findings you may have missed or want to revisit.
Americans' Assessment of Pandemic in U.S. Has Deteriorated
Americans have become increasingly pessimistic about the trajectory of the coronavirus pandemic in recent weeks. A record-high 73% of U.S. adults now say the situation in the U.S. is worsening, with a majority saying it is getting a lot worse -- marking a sharp reversal from early June.
Line graph. Percentage of Americans who believe the coronavirus situation is getting worse. In Gallup's July 13-19 survey, 73% of Americans said the coronavirus situation is getting worse and 55% believe it is getting a lot worse. Both are the highest recorded measures since trending began in April.
Behavior Not Drastically Changed Despite Heightened Negative Assessments
Although Americans believe the coronavirus situation is deteriorating, their contact with non-household members has been steady since June. Less than half of U.S. adults (44%) say they are completely or mostly isolating themselves.
Americans' plateaued social distancing may be the result of increased face mask usage. However, while almost nine in 10 U.S. adults report wearing a mask when in public, new data show that less than half of Americans (44%) always do so. Republicans are particularly less likely to wear masks.
Republican Governors' Ratings Lower Than Democrats'
Although Americans remain positive overall about the way their state governors are handling the COVID-19 situation, governors' ratings have dipped slightly -- largely due to declining ratings of Republican governors.
More U.S. Workers Returning to Workplaces
U.S. employees are returning to their workplaces in greater numbers. According to workers, employers are continuing to clean work sites and increasingly screening workers for COVID-19 symptoms and providing personal protective equipment.
Workers in one profession in particular -- K-12 teachers -- are broadly concerned about possible exposure to COVID-19 at their workplace. They are also increasingly likely to say they would prefer to work remotely because of concerns about the virus.
Line graph. Percentages of K-12 teachers and all other U.S. workers who say they are very concerned about being exposed to COVID-19 at their place of work between May and mid-July. Teachers have consistently been more concerned about exposure. Currently, 57% of teachers are very concerned while 21% of all other workers are.
Perspectives on Gallup Findings
Gallup Editor-in-Chief Mohamed Younis recently hosted two podcasts about the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.
Sonal Desai, chief investment officer at Franklin Templeton Fixed Income, and Jonathan Rothwell, principal economist at Gallup, joined the podcast to discuss the new Franklin Templeton-Gallup Economics of Recovery Study that will track U.S. consumers' readiness to resume pre-COVID-19 activities.
Gallup Podcast: What Will It Take to Get the U.S. Economy 'Back to Normal'? (July 23)
Sera Young, associate professor at Northwestern University, joined the podcast to discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the global problem of water scarcity.
Gallup Podcast: A Crisis Within a Crisis: Water Scarcity Amid COVID-19 (July 17)
July 9, 2020
The number of new COVID-19 cases is surging in the U.S., particularly in Florida, Texas, Arizona and California. As governors in these states grapple with how to proceed, Gallup's COVID-19 research this week finds that the public's outlook on the pandemic remains grim, but partisans' views diverge.
Here are a few notable findings:
One in Five Holding Out for a Vaccine
Americans' views of how soon they would return to their normal day-to-day activities in the absence of government restrictions have evolved over the course of the pandemic and are sharply politically polarized.
At the two ends of the spectrum, 27% would resume their regular activities "right now," and 20% would prefer to wait until after a vaccine is developed. Both of those responses have increased since March.
Meanwhile, reduced percentages would use the number of COVID-19 cases in their state as a guide -- 29% now favor waiting until there are no new cases in their state, and 24% would delay until new cases in their state drop significantly. Both figures are down from 40% in late March/early April.
Line graph. Americans' views of how soon they would return to their normal, day-to-day activities in the absence of government restrictions since early April. Currently, 27% would do so right now, 20% would wait for a vaccine, 29% would do so after no new cases in their state and 24% would wait until the number of new cases in their state declines significantly. The percentage of Americans who are waiting for a vaccine is the highest it has been.
Democrats Four Times as Likely as Republicans to Favor Waiting on Vaccine
Preferences for returning to normalcy are sharply different based on party identification. A 59% majority of Republicans currently say they would resume their daily life right now if it were up to them, but far fewer Democrats (4%) and independents (29%) agree.
For their part, Democrats (41%) are far more likely than Republicans (13%) and independents (27%) to say they would want to see no new cases in their state for a while before a resumption of normalcy. Likewise, Democrats (30%) are much more likely than Republicans (7%) and independents (18%) to say they would prefer to wait for a vaccine.
More Pessimism About the Pandemic
A record high expect the current level of disruption to last at least through the end of this year before improving. Thirty-six percent of Americans say it will continue for the rest of the year, and 42% believe it will be longer than that.
Americans' views of the coronavirus situation in the U.S. are the bleakest since Gallup began tracking the measure in early April. A record-high 44% of U.S. adults now say it is getting a lot worse, up seven percentage points in one week, and 24% say it is getting a little worse.
Line graph. Americans' impressions of the coronavirus situation in the U.S. since April 6. Currently, 68% say it is getting a lot or a little worse and 19% say it is getting a lot or a little better. Those who say it is about the same are not shown. These are the bleakest readings measured.
July 14 UPDATE: Read Gallup's new report on Americans' frequency of mask wearing and how this differs by party, gender, region and other demographics.
July 6, 2020
This week's COVID-19 research finds that as the number of coronavirus infections in the U.S. rises, Americans see the situation as getting worse and are more worried about getting the virus themselves.
Sharp Increase in Percentage Saying Situation Worsening
A new high of 65% of Americans say the coronavirus situation in the U.S. is getting worse, while 23% say it is getting better. Consequently, close to three-fourths of U.S. adults expect the level of disruption caused by COVID-19 to persist until the end of this year or longer than that. A majority of Americans are once again worried about personally contracting the virus.
Americans More Worried About Lack of Social Distancing
The rise in daily new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. comes as states are attempting to reopen their economies. For the first time, a majority of Americans (54%) say they are worried about the lack of social distancing in their local area. Eighty-six percent of U.S. adults now report wearing a face mask when outside their home, the highest Gallup has measured to date. However, Republicans remain much less likely than Democrats to say they wear a face mask in public.
Renewed Concern About Hospital Capacity, COVID-19 Testing
Gallup observed a steady decline in Americans' worry about the availability of COVID-19 tests and hospital supplies/treatment from early April through late June. However, the most recent data showed an uptick in worry about testing and hospital resources, though the level of concern remains lower than it was in April and early May.
U.S. Employees Less Engaged in Their Work
Gallup documented a sharp drop in the percentage of U.S. employees classified as engaged in their work. The early June estimate of 31% was down from a record-high 38% measured in late April and early May. Those in leadership and management positions showed some of the largest declines in job engagement.
Separately, Gallup documented significant declines in the percentages of U.S. workers who say they feel prepared to do their job, who rate their employer's and manager's communication positively, and who say their organization cares about their wellbeing.
June 25, 2020
This week's Gallup research on COVID-19 finds Americans have become increasingly confident that they can protect themselves from getting the coronavirus when out in public. They also have become less pessimistic about the effects of the coronavirus situation on the U.S. economy. A special Gallup analysis shows how news media exposure has shaped COVID-19 prevention attitudes and behaviors.
Self-Protection From COVID-19
Since early April, Americans have become much more confident that they can protect themselves from getting the coronavirus when out in public. The percentage who are "very" or "somewhat" confident has increased by 19 percentage points, with most of that growth coming in the percentage who are very confident. Much of that increase in confidence has come among Republicans.
Less Pessimism About Harm to U.S. Economy
Far fewer Americans today than in mid-May believe the economy is in a recession or depression. The percentage who say the U.S. is in a depression has been cut by about half in the past month. U.S. adults are also now less pessimistic than they were in May about the effects of the coronavirus situation on their personal finances.
Media Consumption Habits Influence COVID-19 Attitudes and Behaviors
During the coronavirus pandemic, Americans' attitudes on COVID-19 prevention methods have changed. They have become less likely to believe healthy people should stay at home as much as possible, less likely to say they always practice social distancing, but more likely to say they wear face masks when out in public. The trends in these attitudes and behaviors have varied by party affiliation.
However, Gallup finds that what type of news media people use influences their public health behaviors and attitudes over and above partisanship. Independents and Republicans who rely solely on conservative-leaning news sources are much less likely to endorse and comply with public health recommendations, compared with independents and Republicans who consume only liberal-leaning news or an ideological mix of news sources. The gap between those with right-leaning and non-right-leaning news diets has widened over time. Democrats' attitudes and behaviors are similar regardless of what types of news they consume.
June 18, 2020
As the economy continues to reopen and the percentage of U.S. adults practicing extreme social distancing continues to decline, Americans are more optimistic about their personal finances. The majority of parents prefer their children attend full-time, in-person school this fall. Still, Americans' concern about being exposed to the coronavirus shows no signs of easing.
Gauging the Financial Impact
Americans' ratings of their personal finances, and their expectations for their finances going forward, are slightly better now than they were in April when most U.S. adults were still living under stay-at-home orders. Lower-income Americans' ratings have improved more than those among adults living in middle- and upper-income households.
Gallup also documented improvements between April and May in Americans' ratings of the U.S. economy more generally. However, the latest update from early June showed no further improvement in assessments of the economy.
Looking Back on an Atypical School Year, and Ahead to the Fall
The coronavirus forced schools to shut down and required teachers, students and parents to rely on distance learning methods to complete the 2019-2020 academic year. Parents said the social aspect of distance learning -- being physically separated from teachers and other students -- was the biggest challenge they faced.
As of late May, 29% of parents said school and business closures and social distancing practices were already harming their child's mental health. Another 14% said their child could continue the practices a few more weeks before experiencing harm.
Parents were more likely to describe remote learning as being "difficult" (56%) rather than "easy" (44%) for their family. The majority, 56%, prefer their children attend school in person on a full-time basis this fall, as opposed to continuing remote learning on a part-time or full-time basis. Parents' preferences are strongly related to their level of concern about their children being infected by the coronavirus.
Social Distancing Continues to Ease
A new low of 41% of U.S. adults say they are "completely" or "mostly" isolating themselves from people outside their household. This represents a decline of 18 percentage points in the past month, and 34 points since the peak in late March/early April.