(CNN) – According to a survey released Friday by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), most Americans now accept the benefits of wearing face masks and wearing them in conjunction with other people.
As COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths increase across the country, most Americans say they can maintain social distance until the pandemic subsides or until there is a vaccine, and most think it will. necessary. The KFF survey also shows that just over half of those polled think the worst pandemic is yet to come.
And your fears can be justified.
A joint forecast from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now predicts 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 provides projections for a few weeks into the future.
The KFF investigation also shows that deep partisan divisions still persist, but that more people than ever before fear that the pandemic will affect them personally.
“The percentage of people who say they are concerned that they or anyone in their family will get sick with the coronavirus has been unprecedentedly high since the 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 about wearing masks and to stay away from other people. When asked how often they wear a protective mask when outside and in contact with other people, 96% of the respondents said that some, usually or always.
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 vast majority of independents (70%) say wearing a mask is everyone’s responsibility to protect public health, Republicans are more divided on this issue by half. (50%) say it is everyone’s responsibility and comparable participation says it is a personal choice (45%), ”the survey said.
“The Republican denial that President Trump reflects, even in the face of a growing epidemic in the red states, has become a real public health challenge that the upcoming administration will have to face,” said Drew, president and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation. . Altman, in a statement.
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In October, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says that wearing masks “makes a difference” and that the politicization of mask use must stop. It almost became a political statement. We have to get rid of it, ”he said.
A quarter of those polled 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 the coronavirus may or may not be a big problem in the US.
When asked how long people are willing to follow the rules of social distance, the majority (75%) said they would stick with it for at least another four to six months. And 70% said they could wait for a vaccine to become widely available, even if that means another six months of restrictions. According to the survey, only 9% said they will not follow any social distance restrictions at all.
Dr. Fauci had a similar message to Americans earlier this week. He said that despite vaccines, people won’t be able to “throw out the masks” until late fall or early winter 2021.
It’s not like turning a light switch on and off. It won’t be overnight. It’s going to be gradual, and I think we’ll know when we see the infection rate in the country dramatically lower than it is now, that we can gradually tiptoe toward normalcy, ”said Dr. Fauci at an event. Virtual health center of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
“I don’t think we can throw out the masks and forget about physical separation in compound environments for a while, probably until we get to late fall and early next winter, but I think we can,” he added.
People were more divided about media coverage of the pandemic. Just over a third said media coverage generally 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 government and Congress to build on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010, while 14% want to keep it as it is. Another 29% want to reduce or withdraw it.
The survey of more than 1,600 adults was conducted by the impartial Kaiser Family Foundation.