Americans’ anxieties over the spread of the coronavirus are at the highest in more than a month, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed, as California recorded its biggest single-day spike in cases since the pandemic began.
With the US death toll at more than 127,000, by far the highest in the world, the 29-30 June poll found that 81% of American adults said they are “very” or “somewhat” concerned about the pandemic, the most since a similar poll conducted 11-12 May.
The centre of the US pandemic has moved from the northeast to the west and south, especially California, Texas, Florida and Arizona.
Bill de Blasio, the mayor of hard-hit New York City, said on Wednesday he was not going ahead with a plan to allow indoor restaurant dining from 6 July, citing the alarming situation elsewhere.
We see a lot of problems and we particularly see problems revolving around people going back to bars and restaurants indoors, and indoors is the problem more and more.
Public health officials believe the decision to reopen bars in many states was one of the main contributors to the sharp increases. Several states have since moved to re-close them.
Customers dine outside Dudley’s in New York last week. Mayor Bill de Blasio says he is delaying the planned resumption of indoor dining at restaurants in the city, fearing it would ignite a spike in coronavirus infections. Photograph: John Minchillo/AP
Cases in California rose by 8,441 on Tuesday as the United States recorded it biggest one-day increase of nearly 48,000 new infections, a Reuters tally showed.
Concerns about the pandemic appear to be rising the most among members of president Donald Trump’s Republican Party, according to the Reuters/Ipsos poll.
Republicans have generally been less enthusiastic about imposing and maintaining restrictions to stop the spread of the virus such as sheltering at home or wearing face masks, turning the public safety measures into a partisan issue.
About seven in 10 Republicans said they were personally concerned about the virus’ spread, up from six in 10 Republicans in polls conducted over the past few weeks.
Trump officials have blamed the surge in cases on increased testing, but the rise in the percentage of people testing positive and in hospitalisations are not linked to more tests being conducted.
Three states with at least 500 total deaths – Arizona, Louisiana and Texas – have seen the rate of fatalities increase for two weeks or more. Deaths in Arizona rose 63% in the week ended 28 June, one of the largest increases in the country.
In parts of Texas and Arizona, hospital intensive care beds for Covid-19 patients are also in short supply.
Medical personnel prepare to test hundreds of people lined up in vehicles in Phoenix’s western neighborhood of Maryvale. Photograph: Matt York/AP
With limited guidance from the White House, the pandemic fight has largely been left to local officials, and the pressure to re-open their economies has been enormous.
Millions have lost their jobs as the economy contracted sharply in the first quarter and is expected to crater in the second.
But when asked in the latest poll about the “most important factor” determining their vote in November, 27% of respondents said it was the candidate’s plan to help the nation recover from the coronavirus, compared with 21% who said it was the candidate’s plan to create jobs and boost the economy.