AP-NORC poll: Coronavirus concern now surpasses that of flu

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In this March 18, 2020 photo, a street car operator wears a face mask as he drives on H Street in Northeast Washington, Wednesday, March 18, 2020. A new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that worries about the coronavirus now surpass concerns about the flu. Thirty-one percent of Americans are very or extremely worried about themselves or someone in their families becoming infected, with another 35% somewhat worried. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

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CHICAGO (AP) — A new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that two-thirds of Americans say they’re at least somewhat concerned they or a loved one will be infected by the coronavirus — up from less than half who said so a month ago.

Among other finding in the survey, conducted March 12-16 among American adults:

— Worries about the coronavirus now surpass concerns about the flu. Thirty-one percent of Americans are very or extremely worried about themselves or someone in their families becoming infected, with another 35% somewhat worried. A month ago, more than half — 55% — said they were not worried.

Concerns about getting the flu decreased over the same period, with 49% now calling themselves at least somewhat worried after 63% said that a month ago.

— When it comes to news and information about the coronavirus, a majority of Americans — 59% — say they rely most heavily on traditional news sources like TV, radio and newspapers.

But while about 7 in 10 adults age 45 or older say they get most of that information from traditional news sources, only about 4 in 10 of those under age 30 say the same. By contrast, about a quarter of those under age 30 say they get news about it from social media, compared with about 1 in 10 adults overall.

— There’s a partisan divide in concern about the coronavirus. Thirty-six percent of Democrats called themselves very worried, compared with 21% of Republicans. Both Democrats and Republicans are more likely to express at least some concern than they were a month ago, when there was little difference in levels of worry. The share who said they were very worried increased only among Democrats.

Democrats are also at least somewhat more likely than Republicans to say they are washing their hands more frequently, staying away from large groups and stocking up on cleaning supplies.

As the poll was being conducted, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency on March 13.

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The AP-NORC poll of 1,003 adults was conducted March 12-16 using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 4.3 percentage points

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Online:

AP-NORC Center: http://www.apnorc.org/.

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