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Targeted Quarantines Top U.S. Adults' Conditions for Normalcy
Politics

Targeted Quarantines Top U.S. Adults' Conditions for Normalcy

Targeted Quarantines Top U.S. Adults' Conditions for Normalcy

Story Highlights

  • 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.

Bar chart. Americans’ views of whether 11 different conditions need to be met in order for them to be willing to return to normal activities.

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.

Importance of Factors to Americans in Resuming Their Normal Activities, by Gender
% Very important
Men Women
% %
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.

Importance of Factors to Americans in Resuming Their Normal Activities, by Party ID
% Very important
Republicans Independents Democrats
% % %
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.

Bottom Line

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.


Gallup https://news.gallup.com/poll/310247/targeted-quarantines-top-u-s-adults-conditions-normalcy.aspx
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