- 80% say mandatory quarantine for positive COVID-19 test very important
- Improved treatment and fewer new cases very important to about three-quarters
- 68% say it is very important to have vaccine before returning to normal
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In an effort to restart the U.S. economy, some states have begun to ease restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, yet at least two-thirds of Americans think it is "very important" that each of four specific conditions is met before they are willing to return to their normal activities. These include mandatory quarantine for anyone who tests positive for the virus; improved medical treatments for COVID-19; a significant reduction in the number of new cases or deaths from the disease; and the availability of a vaccine.
Smaller majorities say widespread testing, assurance that local hospitals have capacity to accept all patients, and requirements that people maintain a six-foot distance from each other would be very important to their willingness to resume normal activities.
While less than half think it is very important that four additional requirements be met before returning to normalcy, majorities say each is at least "somewhat" important. Among them are mandatory face masks in public areas, widespread contact tracing, lifting statewide stay-at-home or social distancing orders, and compulsory temperature checks to enter public buildings.
These findings are from an online, probability-based Gallup Panel survey conducted April 27-May 3, about two weeks after President Donald Trump released guidelines for governors to follow, entitled "Opening Up America Again."
Gallup's questions about returning to normalcy cover many of the guidelines in the Trump administration's plan, which lays out criteria that states should meet, including a downward trajectory in COVID-19 cases and an eye toward hospital capacity. The three-phase plan covers testing, contact tracing, and adherence to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations.
Gender, Party Identification Show Most Striking Demographic Differences
The most sizable gaps in Americans' opinions about the importance of the various requirements measured by Gallup are seen by gender and party identification. In most cases, women are more likely than men to say each condition is a very important factor in their willingness to return to their normal activities.
|Mandatory quarantine for anyone testing COVID-19 positive||77||84|
|Improved medical therapies to treat COVID-19||73||80|
|Significant reduction in number of new cases/deaths||67||79|
|Availability of a vaccine to prevent COVID-19||66||69|
|Widespread testing to identify and monitor coronavirus||56||65|
|Assurances that local hospitals have capacity to accept patients||52||65|
|Required six-foot distance from each other||44||57|
|Face masks required in public||39||54|
|Widespread "contact tracing" to monitor those exposed to COVID-19||41||52|
|Your state government lifting restrictions||41||37|
|Mandatory temperature checks at public building entrances||22||32|
|GALLUP PANEL, April 27-May 3, 2020|
A similar pattern is seen in partisans' views of the importance of the factors. Democrats are far more likely than Republicans and independents to consider each requirement except the lifting of state government orders to be very important. Easing of state restrictions and mandatory temperature checks when entering public buildings are the only measures that less than a majority of Democrats consider very important. Democrats' views of temperature checks may be attributable to privacy concerns.
|Mandatory quarantine for anyone testing COVID-19 positive||66||80||93|
|Improved medical therapies to treat COVID-19||68||75||86|
|Significant reduction in number of new cases/deaths||55||69||92|
|Availability of a vaccine to prevent COVID-19||55||62||82|
|Widespread testing to identify and monitor coronavirus||30||60||87|
|Assurances that local hospitals have capacity to accept patients||47||59||69|
|Required six-foot distance from each other||27||44||76|
|Widespread "contact tracing" to monitor those exposed to COVID-19||24||45||67|
|Your state government lifting restrictions||52||34||31|
|Face masks required in public||22||39||72|
|Mandatory temperature checks at public building entrances||15||27||37|
|GALLUP PANEL, APRIL 27-MAY 3, 2020|
Subgroup Differences for Quarantine and Vaccines
Other notable demographic differences:
Americans living in the Northeastern U.S. (55%), college graduates (52%) and those living in cities (55%) are more likely than their counterparts to say the use of face masks is very important.
73% of college graduates, 72% of city residents and 70% of adults under 45 years of age say the availability of widespread testing to identify and monitor those exposed to the virus is very important to them -- significantly higher rates than their counterparts.
As some Americans around the country have begun to protest COVID-19 stay-at-home orders and the president is anxious to restart the economy, many governors are moving to lift restrictions in their states. Yet, governors in some of the areas hardest hit by COVID-19 are not yet ready to do so, and although Trump has outlined a graduated plan for reopening, some governors are being criticized for lifting restrictions before their state meets all of the criteria.
Americans' views about when and how to reopen the U.S. are sharply polarized politically. Ultimately, regardless of state policies, the decision about returning to normal once restrictions are lifted is up to individuals, and it appears that many will be exercising extreme caution as they assess whether a number of stringent conditions are being met.
Learn more about how the Gallup Panel works.