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Half of Americans say coronavirus outbreak will get worse over the next month

Dr. Fauci gives update on coronavirus pandemic
Dr. Anthony Fauci discusses the latest in the fight against coronavirus 02:49

Americans are bracing for a difficult April. 

Fifty-one percent say the coronavirus outbreak will get worse in the next month, and another 21% expect it to continue as it is now; only 28% say things will get better in the coming weeks. Seventy-seven percent say doctors and nurses don't have the supplies they'll need.


Marks for President Trump's handling of the outbreak remain mixed and have not dramatically changed from last week, with 51% saying he's doing a good job — down two points since last week — and 49% a bad one.


Views on the president's handling are strongly related to partisanship, but also depend on where one thinks the outbreak is headed, as well as on one's own concerns about getting sick. 

Those who think the outbreak is going to get worse nationwide are more apt to think he's doing a bad job, as are those more concerned with getting the virus themselves. Those who are more optimistic on both fronts give the president better marks. 

People say watching the president address the outbreak brings a mixed set of emotions, with those feeling worried (44%) outpacing those feeling confident (27%). Few report being made to feel either secure (23%) or insecure (29%). And 34% feel angry. Fifty-seven percent want to see him demonstrate more compassion toward those dealing with the virus.

The president's press conferences, specifically, also get mixed reviews, with 53% calling them helpful and 47% unhelpful. 

Besides the usual partisan splits, 43% of those with college degrees call the conferences helpful; that rises to 57% among those without college degrees. And those over 65 are the most likely of any age group to call them helpful.


But on coordinating the federal response to states, partisan lines start to blur. Large majorities of Republicans, Democrats, and independents say the Trump administration should consider a state's medical needs and number of cases in helping it get medical equipment and supplies; but large majorities of each do not think state help should depend on whether or not a state's governor says good things about the president.


A majority — 60% — want the president to work more with state and local officials. And 53% want to see less criticism of state officials.

When the president mentions specific medical information, such as potential coronavirus treatments, the public is more inclined to wait to see what medical professionals say. More than twice as many wait to see what medical professionals say (47%) than think the president's medical information is accurate (19%). The rest say his information is inaccurate.

A slight majority who don't think the president's medical information is accurate say he's just trying to make people feel confident.


There is overwhelming bipartisan support for President Trump ordering private U.S. manufacturing companies to make more supplies like medical masks and ventilators. Roughly nine in 10 Republicans, Democrats and independents favor this.


The month ahead

Slightly more Americans this week think things are not going well in the effort to contain the virus (60%, up from 57%).

Americans prioritize containment over the economy for now: an overwhelming 83% say the nation should keep people home and social distancing to contain the virus, even if that hurts the economy — rather than return to work now and risk more infections, which just 17% favor.


Whether people live in cities, suburbs, or rural areas, more expect the outbreak in the U.S. to worsen over the next month than improve.

It is cities, however, that Americans believe will be the most affected. Eight in 10 think cities will be impacted a lot. Fewer say the same about suburbs (46%) and rural areas (26%).

We continue to see partisan differences in assessments of how the U.S. is dealing with the outbreak, as well as in expectations for the near future. Democrats are largely pessimistic, with most saying the country's efforts to combat the virus are going badly, and two-thirds say the outbreak will worsen over the next month. Republicans are relatively more optimistic: more say it is going at least somewhat well (though not as many say very well) and more say things will get better rather than worse over the next month.


What's happened so far?

Asked who could have done more to stop the outbreak from getting to this point, most Americans say China — and also say their fellow Americans who didn't practice social distancing — could have done a lot. Fifty-nine percent say each of those could have. Forty-five percent say the Trump administration could have done a lot to slow the spread.

Republicans are more apt than the public as a whole to think China could have done a lot, and about a third of Republicans think the Trump administration could have done a lot to prevent it. Most Republicans (59%) and Democrats (64%) concur about Americans who did not practice social distancing.

This CBS News survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 2,236 U.S. residents interviewed between March 31-April 1, 2020. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, as well as 2016 presidential vote and registration status. The margin of error is +/- 2.4 points.

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