If the U.S. is successful in flattening the curve of coronavirus through social distancing and self-isolation, the virus will spread less quickly with cases spread out over a longer period of time to ease strain on the health care system.
The nationwide survey found flattening the curve was more important than personal freedom to nearly three-quarters of adults and more important than putting Americans back to work for nearly four-fifths of adults. For 65% of adults, the strategy was more important than helping the U.S. economy and for 60% it was more crucial than having money to pay rent or a mortgage.
Americans were divided on the political response to the virus. Half of people surveyed thought President Donald Trump was more focused on getting re-elected than keeping people safe.
Just 39% said the government’s response was well balanced between big corporations and working people. Another 39% thought it was too focused on big companies, and 8% thought it was too focused on average workers.
However, when it comes down to it, the survey suggested Americans do believe the government response was doing good. Fifty-seven percent said efforts were saving lives versus 27% who felt interventions were causing more problems.
Washington state issued a two-week stay-at-home order Monday to slow the spread of the virus, shutting down non-essential businesses and all social and religious gatherings.
Meanwhile, Trump weighed refining social distancing guidelines Tuesday saying he hoped the country would be reopened by Easter.
Health experts have made clear that unless Americans continue to dramatically limit social interaction the number of infections will overwhelm the health care system, as it has in parts of Italy, leading to many more deaths.
The survey, conducted by SurveyUSA, polled 1,000 adults across the U.S. online from March 24-25.
The Associated Press contributed.