Majority of Americans Cautious Concerning Return to Normalcy

June 11, 2020 by Reece Nations
Pedestrians wear face coverings and protective masks as they cross Mains street, Monday, June 8, 2020, in the Flushing section of the Queens borough of New York. After three bleak months, New York City will try to turn a page when it begins reopening Monday after getting hit first by the coronavirus, then an outpouring of rage over racism and police brutality. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

WASHINGTON – As state governors continue to roll back restrictions on gatherings and business brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, a new Gallup survey indicates at least two-thirds of Americans want to meet specific conditions before they are willing to fully restart the United States’ economy.

Among other things, the Gallup survey found that 80% of those polled were in favor of imposing mandatory quarantine for people who test positive for coronavirus before returning to conventional life. 

The poll was conducted in early May, prior to the widespread protests over the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis, Minn. It also coincided with the first round of reopenings across the United States.

Since then, the number of new cases in the nation has been falling steadily. The good news in this regard is being led by steady improvement in the hardest-hit areas, including New York.

Meanwhile, the South has seen an uptick in new cases, and four states — Arizona, Florida, New Mexico and Oregon — have seen a dramatic rise in cases, their numbers jumping more than 50%.

However, most of these new cases are attributed to vast increases in the number of coronavirus tests performed in these states.

The pollster found 77% of respondents would like to see improved medical therapies to treat the virus before the economy is completely reopened, while 73% want a significant reduction in new cases and deaths before resuming pre-COVID-19 activities. 

Almost 70% of Americans indicated the availability of a vaccine was “very important” to their willingness to return to normal activity, according to Gallup. 

Gallup’s survey was conducted from April 27 through May 3, roughly two weeks after the Trump Administration released guidelines for governors to follow as they eased constraints imposed to suppress the spread of the virus earlier this year. 

Governors were advised to follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and spelled out how to go about testing and contact tracing. Gallup’s survey was tailored around these guidelines and gages the public’s view of each factor accordingly. 

Most surveyed said lifting statewide stay-at-home or social distancing orders, widespread contact tracing, mandatory face masks in public areas and compulsory temperature checks to enter public facilities are at least “somewhat important.” 

Disparities about which requirements should be prioritized are divided by gender and partisan affiliation, according to Gallup. Americans who identified as either Republican or independent were significantly less likely to consider each requirement—except the lifting of state government orders—to be “very important” to returning to normalcy. 

Attitudes towards social distancing guidelines, such as the use of face masks and requiring six-feet of distance between individuals, also vary by demographics. Americans who live in cities, the Northeastern U.S. or who are college graduates were more likely to say requiring face masks in public and widespread testing availability is very important. 

As some states move forward with restarting their economies, the viewpoints on how to properly do so are staunchly polarized. However, the consensus indicated by Gallup’s survey shows that most Americans will remain considerably cautious when assessing which avenue to normalcy to take. 

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