(CNN) — Most Americans now accept the benefits of wearing masks and wearing them when they are with other people, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) survey released Friday.
As COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths rise across the country, most Americans say they can maintain social distancing until the pandemic has subsided or until there is a vaccine, and most believe it will be. necessary. The KFF survey also reveals that just over half of those surveyed think the worst of the pandemic is yet to come.
And your fears may be justified.
A joint forecast released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now projects there will be 357,000 to 391,000 deaths from coronavirus in the US by January 9. Unlike some individual models, the CDC’s joint forecast only offers projections for a few weeks into the future.
The KFF survey also finds that deep partisan divisions persist, but more people than ever before fear that the pandemic will affect them personally.
“The proportion of people who say they are concerned that they or someone in their family will get sick from the coronavirus is at an all-time high since KFF began tracking this question in February (68%),” the foundation said in a statement. release.
These fears may have motivated people to accept public health advice on wearing masks and to stay away from other people. When asked how often they wear a protective mask when they are out of the house and in contact with other people, 96% of the respondents said that some, most or all of the time.
The survey found that 23% of respondents considered wearing a mask a personal choice, while 73% felt that wearing a mask “is part of everyone’s responsibility to protect the health of others.”
“While an overwhelming majority of Democrats (93%) and a large majority of independents (70%) say that wearing a mask is everyone’s responsibility to protect public health, Republicans are more divided on this issue with half (50 %) saying it is everyone’s responsibility and a similar participation saying it is a personal choice (45%), ”the survey found.
“The Republican denial that reflects President Trump, even in the face of a growing epidemic in the red states, has become a real public health challenge that the incoming administration will have to take on,” said Kaiser Family Foundation President and CEO Drew Altman, in a statement.
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In October, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that wearing masks “makes a difference” and that the politicization of mask use should end. It almost became a political statement. We have to get away from it, ”he said.
A quarter of those surveyed by KFF said the worst is over when it comes to the pandemic, while 51% said the worst is yet to come. While 19% said that the coronavirus is or will not be a major problem in the US.
When asked how long people are willing to follow social distancing rules, the majority (75%) said they could hold out for another four to six months at least. And 70% said they could wait until a vaccine became widely available, even if that means six more months of restrictions. Only 9% said they will not follow social distancing restrictions at all, according to the survey.
Dr. Fauci had a similar message for Americans earlier this week. He said that despite vaccines, people will not be able to “throw away the masks” until late fall or early winter 2021.
It won’t be like turning a light switch on and off. It is not going to be overnight. It is going to be gradual, and I think we will know when we see the level of infection in the country dramatically lower than it is now that we can gradually begin to tiptoe towards normality, ”said Dr. Fauci during an event Virtual Health Center of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
“I don’t think we can throw away the masks and forget about physical separation in congregated settings for a while, probably until we get to late fall and early next winter, but I think we can do it,” he added.
People were more divided on the media coverage of the pandemic. Just over a third said that media coverage in general exaggerated the severity of the coronavirus, 36% said it was generally correct, and a quarter said it was generally underestimated.
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About half of those surveyed said they want the incoming Biden administration and Congress to build on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010, while 14% want to keep it as is. Another 29% want to reduce or revoke it.
The survey of more than 1,600 adults was conducted by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.
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