Americans Divided on Returning to Routine Due to Virus

A commuter walks Monday on a nearly empty New York subway platform. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

(CN) — While more sectors of the U.S. economy are reopening this summer, some people say they’re not raring to go back to their regular routines due to the novel coronavirus, according to poll results released Wednesday.

This past March the novel coronavirus that causes the deadly Covid-19 virus was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization.

Local and state governments followed the declaration with health policies and stay-at-home orders that effectively closed businesses, schools, places of worship and other large gathering venues. The blunt hit from Covid-19 swept across the United States and the rest of the globe, with a bruise that continues to linger.

In recent weeks, health orders were relaxed with a gradual reopening of economic sectors like dine-in restaurants and shopping malls, but according to a new CNN poll, U.S. residents are split on what comes next.

A total of 47% of respondents say the worst is behind us, while 46% say the worst is yet to come, according to the poll that surveyed respondents June 2–5. The optimism behind the recovery increased from just 17% of respondents polled April 3–6 who said the worst is behind us, according to the poll results conducted by the market research firm SSRS.

As of Tuesday, over 2 million U.S. residents have confirmed cases of Covid-19 with 114,000 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The development of a possible vaccine is months or years away and recent protests against police violence over the death of George Floyd have likely hastened the spread of the virus, according to federal health officials.

The latest poll results show that just 49% of respondents feel comfortable going back to their regular routine, that’s up 8% from poll results taken May 7-10 and over half at the same time.

People were especially not comfortable with the removal of federal guidelines over social distancing, according to the poll results. When asked in early April about the removal of the guidelines that were set to expire at the end of April, 60% of respondents said they were uncomfortable.

Just 5% said they would be able to return to their regular routines this year, 30% said they will probably see those routines return, 46% said they will not return and 18% said those routines will definitely not return, according to the poll results taken June 2-5.

In total, 36% say there has been no economic recovery but conditions are stabilized and 36% say the economy is still in a downturn, while 23% say the economy is starting to recover from whatever impacts were caused by the virus, according to the poll authors.

Split by party lines, confidence in returning to those regular routines is favored by respondents who identified as Republicans, followed by Independents, all Americans polled and Democrats.

Republicans are in overwhelming favor of returning to their regular routines at 73% according to results taken June 2–5, up from 63% from respondents’ answers May 7–10. Independents are at 53% confidence, followed by 49% of all Americans and just 23% of Democrats say they would feel comfortable going back to their regular routines, up from 16% from respondent’s answers in May.

White Americans polled (51%) are more in favor of going back to their regular routine over people of color (45%).

Overall, the poll results show more Americans are leaving home to go buy groceries, visit with friends or see a doctor or seek medical treatment, with incremental increases from April, May and the first week of June.

About half of those polled say they left home to visit friends, family or neighbors, up 15 points from last month and 68% from those who are employed say they left home for work in the last week.

In total, 1,259 adults were reached by phone and the margin of error was plus or minus 3.4 percentage points according to the study authors.

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