Poll Finds Most Americans Embarrassed by US Response to Pandemic

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, listens as President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Wednesday, April 1, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(CN) — As the nation continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic and the roughly 5.4 million cases in the United States alone, a new poll finds most Americans are embarrassed by the federal response to the crisis.

According to the CNN poll released Wednesday, the response to the Covid-19 pandemic by leaders at the federal level — one that has been subjected to no small degree of criticism since the onset of the outbreak — has left a majority of Americans feeling humiliated and enraged. Nearly 70% of Americans say they have been embarrassed at the way the United States has responded to the outbreak so far, while another 8 in 10 Americans say the way things are going in the county has left them feeling downright angry.

As more Americans grow disenchanted with their leaders’ reaction to the coronavirus outbreak, many lay some of that blame on the White House. Just over 60% of respondents in Wednesday’s poll said President Donald Trump could be doing more to combat the deadly health crisis with another 58% say they disapprove of his handling of the outbreak overall.

Besides growing more upset with the direction of the county, Americans say they’re also growing more cynical for the future. Just over half of respondents said they believe the worst of the pandemic is yet to come, and a majority say they don’t feel comfortable returning to their typical pre-outbreak routines. Roughly a quarter of Americans also don’t believe they will feel that comfort at any point before the year is up — a notable departure from the 9% of Americans who felt that way in June.

These amplified concerns could be due in part to the fact that more people say they know someone who contracted the virus. While only 40% of Americans said as much in the June poll, 67% now say Covid has affected someone in their circle.

One thing that has not changed much, however, is the fact that Americans continue to be largely divided on how they feel about the reopening of schools and professional sports.

As schools around the county continue to wrestle with reopening plans and strategies, 57% of Americans say schools in their local area should not be open for in-person learning this year while nearly 40% say they should reopen. Parents in particular are sharply divided on this, with 47% saying schools should open and 52% saying they should remain shuttered for the fall semester.

It’s a similar story in the world of pro sports. Despite the recent bout of game disruptions for some Major League baseball games due to confirmed cases among players and staff, 45% of Americans still say sports should go on while 49% say seasons should be canceled.

The poll also found Americans grow more cautious of a potential Covid-19 vaccine. While 66% of Americans said in May that they would try to get vaccinated for the coronavirus once a vaccine became available, that number has now dropped to 56%.

As has been the case so far, these feelings over a host of pandemic-related issues fall along party lines.

Democrats are among those most likely to be the most ashamed over the national response to the outbreak, with around 90% saying they’ve felt embarrassment in recent months. According to the poll, Democrats are also more likely to believe the worst is yet to come regarding the pandemic and are much more skeptical of returning to their usual schedules or reopening schools.  

Most Republicans, however, say they are proud of the nation’s Covid-19 response and believe the worst of the pandemic is behind us. Republicans are also more likely to feel comfortable returning to their routines and reopening local schools.

In a rare display of unity, however, Republicans and Democrats agree on one thing: efforts to find a Covid-19 vaccine must be done appropriately. Roughly 6 in 10 Americans say they are at least somewhat confident that trials to create an effective coronavirus vaccine have properly balanced safety and speed so far — and that confidence cuts across party lines.

Wednesday’s poll of 1,108 adults contained a 3.7% margin of error.

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