Concerns about contracting coronavirus stabilize: poll

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Infections and deaths from the coronavirus pandemic keep rising, but a new national survey indicates that the percentage of Americans concerned about contracting the COVID-19 disease caused by the virus has stabilized.

A new Monmouth University Poll also points to a leveling off in the number of people saying they’ve lost a job or income due to the pandemic — but with millions already out of work and unemployment at historic levels, the survey also suggests that Americans are less hopeful than they were last month that life will return to normal after the coronavirus crisis is over.

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According to the poll, which was released Monday, 42 percent of Americans say they’re very concerned about someone in their family becoming seriously ill from the coronavirus — down from 50 percent in Monmouth’s April survey.

The drop in concern comes even as more people say they know someone who’s contracted the virus — 40 percent now compared with 26 percent last month.

“Concern about Covid seems to have returned to where it was in the early days of the public response to the pandemic in this country,” Monmouth University Polling Institute director Patrick Murray said in a statement.

The survey indicated that the drop in concern was greater among whites (down 10 percent) compared with Latinos or those of other races (down 5 percent).

The domestic death toll from the pandemic was likely to top 80,000 on Monday.

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The poll also showed a slight drop in those saying the outbreak’s had a major impact on their daily lives — from 62 percent in April to 56 percent now. “The drop in feeling a major impact may be partly due to the fact that things have stabilized for most families after taking a hit in April,” Murray noted.

The percentage who say they’ve lost income (40 percent) or have had someone in their household laid off from work (31 percent) is virtually unchanged from April.

The government reported on Friday that the U.S. economy lost 20.5 million jobs in April, with the unemployment level reaching 14.7 percent. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin acknowledged on "Fox News Sunday" that the nation’s jobless rate could near 25 percent in the coming months.

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But the survey reveals a deterioration in the number of people who are hopeful that they and their families will be able to get their lives back to normal after the pandemic passes — from 69 percent in April to 63 percent now.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted April 30-May 4, with 808 adults nationwide questioned by live telephone operators. The survey’s sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.