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Public assessments of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak

“Three-quarters of Americans say that “not enough people following social distancing and mask-wearing guidelines” is a major reason the coronavirus outbreak has continued in the United States – the most commonly cited major reason among the six asked about in the Pew survey. Roughly six-in-ten (58%) also say a major reason for the continued spread is that “restrictions on businesses and individuals have been lifted too quickly in some places.” About half of Americans (53%) say an inadequate federal government response is a major reason for the continuation of the outbreak, while nearly as many (49%) point to a lack of timely testing. Four-in-ten say a lack of clarity in instructions for how to prevent the spread is a major reason it has continued. Just 28% of Americans say a major reason is that it is “not possible to do much to control the spread…By 60% to 39%, most Americans attribute the rise in confirmed coronavirus cases more to rising infections than to a rise in testing, with a wide partisan divide in these views. A 62% majority of Republicans say that “the increase in confirmed coronavirus cases is primarily a result of more people being tested than in previous months,” with 36% taking the view that “while more people are being tested compared with earlier in the outbreak, the increase in confirmed coronavirus cases is primarily because of more new infections, not just more tests.” About two-thirds of conservative Republicans attribute the growth in confirmed cases mostly to increased testing, while views among moderate and liberal Republicans are more divided (53% say it is mostly because of increased testing, 45% mostly because of increased infections). By contrast, Democrats overwhelmingly hold the view that increased case counts are mainly the result of increased infections – 80% say this. Although this is the clear majority view across the party, liberal Democrats are more likely than conservative and moderate Democrats to say this (90% vs. 73%)…”

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