President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that "our country wants to go back to work." With that, he hopes to lift "social distancing" restrictions designed to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus by Easter Sunday, enabling the United States to once again be open for business, as reported by The Guardian.
Yet, medical experts say that ending the restrictions would cause a public health disaster, The Guardian reported. Additionally, according to a new poll, approximately three of every four Americans appear to agree with the experts.
Currently, at least 17 states have "stay-at-home" orders in place, according to a CNN count, and four others have ordered many types of businesses to close. The poll released Wednesday shows that 74 percent of Americans favor a "national quarantine" that would essentially lock down the entire country, requiring all Americans to remain in their homes except to perform basic functions, such as shopping for food and medicine.
The Morning Consult poll found that support for a national lockdown crosses the partisan divide. Though Democrats, at 81 percent, say that they favor the harsh measure, more than seven of 10 Republicans (72 percent) agree, as do 69 percent of Americans who describe themselves as political independents.
Among all voters, 40 percent said that they "strongly" support a mandatory nationwide quarantine, while another 34 percent said that they "somewhat" support the lockdown, for a total of 74 percent.
The poll also broke results down by generation, finding that "strong" support for a nationwide lockdown was weakest among the youngest adults, "Generation Z," the 18- to 25-year-old age group. Among that demographic, only 29 percent said that they strongly supported a nationwide quarantine. Another 44 percent said that they "somewhat" supported the lockdown, for a total of 73 percent, consistent with the average across generations.
The Baby Boom, or "Boomer," generation — Americans between ages 56 and 74 — expressed the highest level of "strong" support for the lockdown and highest level of overall support. A collective 77 percent of "Boomers" said that they supported the national lockdown, with 43 percent expressing "strong support."
On Monday, the United Kingdom put a national quarantine order in place. On Sunday, a pandemics expert who also worked to control the 2014 Ebola epidemic wrote an op-ed for USA Today stating that "a five-week national lockdown" offers the only hope for containing the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.
"Our relaxed approach to social distancing is insufficient to stop the exponential growth" of the pandemic, scientist Yaneer Bar-Yam warned in the op-ed.
The Morning Consult poll also found that while 26 percent of Americans believe that social distancing restrictions will end and Americans may safely return to public spaces sometime in the next month, Republicans are the most optimistic. Nearly one-third, 32 percent, of Republicans say that the restrictions will no longer be necessary a month from now, or earlier.