August 5, 2020

Lockdown, round two? Most Americans would support a 2-week stay-at-home order.

Daily Briefing

    A majority of Americans appear to support strict measures to curb the country's coronavirus epidemic—including imposing a nationwide stay-at-home order—a new poll finds, but the findings run contrary to what public health officials are seeing as the virus continues to spread.

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    US new coronavirus cases near 4.8M, deaths top 157K

    As of Wednesday morning, U.S. officials had reported a total of 4,778,800 cases of the novel coronavirus since the country's epidemic first began—up from 4,725,100 cases reported as of Tuesday morning.

    Data from the New York Times shows that Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and 12 states saw their average daily numbers of newly reported coronavirus cases rise over the past 14 days: Alaska, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and South Dakota.

    According to the Times' data, the average daily numbers of newly reported coronavirus cases over the past two weeks remained mostly stable in Guam; Washington, D.C.; and 28 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

    Ten states—Arizona, California, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, New Mexico, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Washington—saw their average daily numbers of newly confirmed cases decrease over the past 14 days, according to the Times' data.

    Meanwhile, growth in America's national coronavirus-related death rate has been rising.

    According to the Times' data, Puerto Rico and 26 states saw their average daily numbers of newly reported deaths linked to the coronavirus rise over the past 14 days: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

    Over the past two weeks, the country's average daily number of newly reported deaths linked to the virus has increased from about 780 to 1,056, according to the Associated Press. Reuters reports that the United States is one of four countries leading the increase in the number of coronavirus-related deaths reported worldwide, which topped 700,000 as of Wednesday morning.

    Overall, officials as of Wednesday morning had reported 157,302 U.S. deaths linked to the new coronavirus—up from 155,935 deaths reported as of Tuesday morning.

    Most Americans support aggressive measures to contain coronavirus epidemic

    As the coronavirus continues to spread throughout the United States, an NPR/Ipsos poll published Tuesday suggests a majority of Americans support aggressive measures aimed at curbing the country's epidemic. For the poll, researchers on July 30 and July 31 surveyed a total of 1,115 U.S. adults.

    According to the poll, two-thirds of respondents said they believe the United States is managing the global coronavirus pandemic "somewhat worse" or "much worse" than other countries. Further, the poll found that a majority of the respondents said they support the use of stricter measures to curb the United States' coronavirus epidemic. For example, the survey found that:

    • 76% of respondents said they support state laws requiring people to wear face masks or coverings in public at all times;
    • 62% of respondents said they'd support implementing a single, national strategy for reopening nonessential businesses;
    • 60% of respondents said they'd support implementing a single, national strategy for reopening schools;
    • 59% of respondents said they'd support imposing a mandatory, nationwide, two-week stay-at-home order;
    • 59% of respondents said they'd support their states temporarily closing down all restaurants and nonessential businesses; and
    • 55% of respondents said they'd support a temporary ban on all travel between states.

    "We've come to a pretty dire place when it comes to both the death toll and the spread of coronavirus across the country," said Mallory Newall, an Ipsos pollster. "Americans, as they grapple with the reality of just how grave the situation is, they're looking for sweeping, really broad, powerful action here."

    However, many Americans are not taking precautions to protect themselves and others against the novel coronavirus, state officials and public health experts say. For example, officials and public health experts have reported that some Americans refuse to wear face coverings in public, and some are not practicing adequate social distancing, the AP reports.

    In Massachusetts, for instance, officials are investigating a minimum of six new clusters of coronavirus cases connected to a harbor cruise trip, a high school graduation party, a lifeguard party, a prom party, and an unapproved football camp. In addition, officials have reported that a recent Cape Cod house party, which was attended by more than 60 people, has been linked to more than 12 new cases of the virus, and the outbreak prompted some restaurants to limit service or close, the AP reports.

    Demetria Lindsay, district director for Virginia Beach and Norfolk at Virginia's Department of Health, said a lack of proper social distancing and mask wearing has been associated with spikes in new coronavirus cases in the state, particularly among young adults. "Father's Day, Memorial Day, graduations, birthdays, backyard barbecues, you name it," she said, discussing recent events that have led to increases in new coronavirus cases.

    Cindy Prins, a University of Florida epidemiologist, said, "We're at a point where there's enough spread of [the coronavirus] that people throughout the U.S. are at an increased likelihood of encountering the virus and getting exposed." She continued, "This is a behavioral disease right now for a lot of people" and disease means "changing our behavior," which is "so hard for humans to do" because we are "social creatures."

    6 states team up with The Rockefeller Foundation to buy 3M coronavirus tests

    The recent spikes in new coronavirus cases throughout the United States have led to widespread shortages of coronavirus tests and testing supplies, as well as considerable delays in receiving coronavirus test results—a situation that public health experts say significantly hampers the country's ability to control the epidemic.

    To help address the issue, governors from six states—Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, and Virginia—have entered into an agreement with The Rockefeller Foundation to purchase three million rapid, point-of-care antigen tests for the coronavirus, which they hope will help the states detect and respond to new coronavirus outbreaks quicker.

    Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), who chairs the National Governors Association, negotiated the agreement, under which each participating state will receive 500,000 antigen tests that can detect a coronavirus infection within 15 to 20 minutes.

    More states, cities, and municipalities are expected to join the compact as the plan moves forward, Hogan said.

    According to Axios' "Vitals," the agreement signifies the first multi-state coordinated testing strategy in the country (Shumaker, Reuters, 8/5; Farzan et al., Washington Post, 8/4; Mann, NPR, 8/4; Naishadham et al., Associated Press, 8/4; Owens, "Vitals," Axios, 8/5; McCammon, NPR, 8/4; New York Times, 8/5).

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