Number of Americans concerned about coronavirus spikes, AP-NORC poll finds

Two-thirds are concerned about someone in their family contracting COVID-19

As the scope of the global outbreak of COVID-19 continues to grow, Americans are increasingly worried about a possible infection from the new coronavirus. 

According to a poll recently conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research at the University of Chicago, two in three Americans are at least somewhat concerned about someone in their family contracting the coronavirus and are taking recommended actions to avoid the disease.

In February, only 45% of Americans were somewhat or extremely worried about themselves or a family member becoming infected with the coronavirus, less than those who were concerned about the flu.

In the poll, conducted March 16-20, found most people reported compliance with recommendations to curb the spread of the virus, including increased hand washing, avoiding crowds and resisting touching their face.

Although older people are particularly vulnerable to complications from a coronavirus infection, younger people are more concerned about someone in their family contracting COVID-19. Democrats and independents are more worried about the prospect of becoming infected with the new coronavirus than are Republicans, the survey found.

Most Americans had no plans to travel over the next three months. Of those who planned to travel within the United States, about half still expect to travel, while the other half are either thinking about canceling or have already done so.

Most Americans over 30 are looking toward traditional news sources for information about the coronavirus. Only 38% of those age 18-29 get information about the virus from traditional news, and 24% use social media. Among employed adults, 4% get most of their information from their employer.

The nationwide poll was conducted March 12-16, 2020 using the AmeriSpeak® Panel, the probability-based panel of NORC at the University of Chicago, an independent research institution that deliver​s reliable data and rigorous analysis. Online and telephone interviews using landlines and cell phones were conducted with 1,003 adults. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4.3 percentage points.

Adapted from a story originally posted by NORC at the University of Chicago.