Americans slow to change out-of-home behavior, even as coronavirus concerns intensify

New ABC News/Ipsos polling finds most oppose re-opening in-school instruction this fall

The author(s)

  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Mallory Newall Director, US, Public Affairs
  • Jinhee Yi Research Analyst, US, Public Affairs
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Washington DC, July 24, 2020

The latest ABC News/Ipsos poll finds that while most are concerned about infection, Americans’ willingness to be out-of-home has only declined slightly from the ‘coronavirus lull’ in early June. This comes as most oppose restarting in-school instruction in the fall.

Detailed findings:

1. Americans are increasingly concerned about being infected with the coronavirus, although not at levels seen in early April.

  • Three-quarters (77%) of Americans are somewhat or very concerned, the highest level since May.
  • Virtually all Democrats (99%) are concerned compared to only half (52%) of Republicans.
  • Women (81%) and older Americans (ages 65+, 82%) are also more likely to be concerned.

2. A majority of Americans oppose re-opening in-school instruction this fall. However, parents are concerned about their children falling behind in their education.

  • More than half (55%) of Americans oppose re-opening schools. Democrats (78% oppose) and Republicans (79% support) are polar opposites on this issue.
  • Three in five parents (59%) are concerned about their children falling behind in their education because of COVID-19.
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3. Americans are slow to change their willingness to engage in out-of-home activities in the face of the new coronavirus surge.

  • As opening day of the baseball season gets underway, fewer than a quarter (22%) of people who would normally go to a sporting event are willing to now.
  • Fewer Americans continue to express a willingness to engage in other crowded-type activities like going to a bar (27%), going to a gym (28%), going to a movie theater (27%), or attending a protest (17%). These have declined slightly from late June.
  • However, more are willing to engage in more individual-level activities like going to work (78%), getting a haircut (67%), staying in a hotel (51%), or eating at a restaurant (54%). These are all essentially unchanged from last month.
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Washington DC, July 10, 2020

According to the latest ABC News/Ipsos poll, just one in three Americans approve of the way President Donald Trump is handling the response to COVID-19. This not only represents the lowest approval rating since the question was asked in March, but also an 8-point drop from mid-June. Moreover, a majority of Americans feel the U.S. is reopening the economy too quickly, though there are significant partisan differences.

Detailed findings:

1. Thirty-three percent of Americans approve of Trump’s handling of the response to the coronavirus, down from 41% three weeks ago. This is Trump’s lowest approval rating on the issue to date.

  • Seventy-eight percent of Republicans approve of the president’s handling of the COVID-19 response, compared to 26% of Independents and just 7% of Democrats.
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2. Fifty-nine percent of Americans believe the U.S. is re-opening the economy too quickly, more than double the number that believe it is happening at the right pace (26%).

  • Views are similar to two weeks ago, when 56% said the reopening was happening too quickly.
  • There is a nearly 60 percentage point difference between Democrats (84%) and Republicans (26%) on whether we are re-opening too quickly.

3. President Trump’s approval on race relations is equal to that of his handling of COVID-19 (32%).

  • While many more Americans have a negative reaction than positive (43% vs. 5%, respectively) to seeing the Confederate flag displayed, most (52%) have neither a negative nor positive reaction.
  • Majorities of white (58%) and Hispanic (54%) Americans have neither reaction to seeing the Confederate flag displayed, while three-quarters of Black Americans (76%) report having a negative reaction.  

Washington DC, June 26, 2020

Concern with potential coronavirus infection has rebounded in the latest ABC News/Ipsos poll as the number of cases in the South and West surge, even as more Americans are leaving the home. This trend is connected to increases in protective actions and decreased willingness to engage in certain ‘routine’ activities.

Americans are increasingly concerned with the coronavirus as cases surge across the Southern and Western United States.

  • Three-quarters of Americans (76%) are concerned about being infected by the coronavirus, up from 69% in early June. This reversed a two-month declining trend since April.
  • Almost four to one (56% to 15%), most Americans believe the U.S. is reopening the economy too quickly rather than too slowly. An additional 29% believe the economy is being reopened at the right pace.
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The increase in concern is connected to an increase in protective behavior and reduction in willingness to be out in public.

  • Almost nine in ten (87%) Americans have worn a face mask or covering when leaving the home in the past week, up from 61% in mid-April.
  • The number of Americans willing to do many public activities has declined over the last two weeks after increasing through late May.
  • Americans are particular less willing to do things that would expose them to large groups or crowds such as attend a sporting event (21% willing, down from 29%), go to a movie theater (31%, down from 39%), go to church (49%, down from 57%), or fly on an airplane (36%, down from 44%).
  • Smaller-scale activities see a smaller reduction including going to a gym (28%, down from 33%), staying in a hotel (53%, down from 57%), and getting a haircut (65%, down from 69%).

Washington DC, June 19, 2020

New ABC News/Ipsos polling shows that while a clear majority of Americans support banning chokeholds from police use, removing Confederate statues produces more mixed opinions and most Americans are opposed to the idea of renaming military bases and are opposed to reparations for the descendants of slaves.

Detailed findings:

1. Almost two-thirds of Americans (63%) support ‘banning the use of chokeholds by police officers’.

  • This includes a clear majority of all demographic groups, including 71% of African Americans.
  • Republicans are split, with 51% supporting a ban and 48% opposing one.
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2. A majority of Americans (56%) oppose ‘changing the names of U.S. military bases that are named after Confederate leaders’.

  • Independents, who are split on removing statues, are more opposed to renaming bases (59%) than supportive (40%).
  • African Americans are also less supportive (67%) of renaming bases.

3. Almost three-quarters of Americans (73%) think the federal government should not ‘pay money to black Americans whose ancestors were slaves as compensations for that slavery’.

  • Only about one in eight white Americans (14%) support reparations compared to three-quarters of African Americans (72%).
  • Democrats are split on reparations (54% should, 45% should not), with the majority of Republicans (94%) and Independents (82%) opposed.  

Washington DC, June 12, 2020

Seven in ten Americans (69%) are concerned that they, or someone they know, will be infected with the coronavirus, according to the latest ABC News/Ipsos poll. This number reflects a nine percentage point decline from last week, and a return to levels of concern seen when we first started measuring in mid-March. Furthermore, Americans are now more willing to re-engage in “normal” activities, like going to the salon or eating in a restaurant, than they were a month ago.

1. The declining levels of concern about COVID-19 are due to fewer people reporting they are very concerned. 

  • Currently, 28% are very concerned that they, or someone they know, will be infected with the virus, down from 36% last week. Overall, 69% are concerned.
  • Democrats remain significantly more concerned about the virus than Republicans (82% vs. 59% concerned, respectively).

2. More Americans are willing to go to a salon, restaurant, church, and resume other pre-COVID activities than they were last month.

  • We have seen a significant increase in every single activity, with the biggest increases coming from going to church, going to the mall, and flying on an airplane (15 percentage point increases each).
  • At least half of Americans now say they are willing to go to a mall, attend church, go to a salon, stay in a hotel, or go to work. A majority of parents are willing to send their child to school.
  • More than one in four (26%) are willing to attend a protest.
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3. Most oppose the “defund the police” movement, but there are significant differences based on race, partisanship, and age.

  • Just one in three (34%) support the movement to “defund the police.” Slightly more, 39%, support reducing the budget of their local police department if the money is shifted to programs related to mental health, housing, and education.
  • A majority of Democrats (55%) support the movement, yet just one in ten Republicans (9%) agree. Black Americans are more than twice as likely as white Americans to support, and support is also higher among Americans under age 50.  
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Washington DC, June 5, 2020

New ABC News/Ipsos polling finds that most Americans believe the recent death of George Floyd is a sign of broader problems in the treatment of African Americans by police and disapprove of President Trump’s handling of the protests.

 Detailed Findings:

1. Three-quarters (74%) of Americans believe the killing of Floyd is part of a broader problem in the treatment of African Americans by police.

  • Virtually all Democrats (92%) and African Americans (94%) believe this killing is part of a broader problem.
  • Republicans are split with 55% saying it’s part of a broader problem and 45% saying it is an isolated incident.
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2. Two-thirds (66%) of Americans disapprove of the way Donald Trump is handling the response to Floyd’s death.

  • Only 7% of African Americans and 22% of people under the age of 30 approve of the President’s handling of the aftermath of Floyd’s killing. Two-thirds (69%) of Republicans approve of his job here.

3. Two in five (39%) Americans approve of President Trump’s handling of the response to coronavirus, unchanged over the last two weeks.

  • Trump’s support on his handling of COVID-19 continues to come primarily from Republicans (84%), White Americans (49%), and people without a college degree (57%).

 

Washington DC, May 22, 2020

The latest ABC News/Ipsos poll finds that while fewer than one in five Americans report they know anyone who has died from the coronavirus or its complications, there are significant differences between white and non-white Americans.

Detailed findings

1. Though just 15 percent personally know anyone who has died from the coronavirus or complications related to the coronavirus, there are significant differences between white and non-white Americans.

  • White Americans (10%) are less likely than non-white Americans (25%) to personally know someone who has died from the coronavirus or its complications – a 15 percentage point difference. Black Americans are the most likely to know someone who has died (30%).

2. A majority are confident that they know where to go to get tested for the coronavirus if they believe it to be necessary (77%), and that they would be able to get tested (71%).

  • Confidence about where to go is highest among white Americans (80%), with non-white Americans less so (72%).
  • A similar pattern emerges among perceived ability to get tested, with 75% white Americans feeling confident, compared to 65% non-white Americans.
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3. Sixty percent of Americans disapprove of the way President Trump is handling the response to the coronavirus, compared to 57% last week and 54% in mid-April

Washington, DC, May 15, 2020

The latest ABC News/Ipsos poll finds that a strong majority of Americans believe there is a shortage of coronavirus tests available in the United States. Compared to mid-April, concern about being infected with coronavirus has decreased slightly. 

Detailed findings:

  • Nearly three in four (73%) Americans believe there is a shortage of coronavirus tests available in the United States.
  • Democrats (90%) are more likely than Republicans (50%) to think there are not enough coronavirus tests – by a margin of 40 percentage points. There is an 11-point difference between respondents with a high school degree or less (69%) and those with a bachelor’s degree or higher (80%) who hold this view.
  • Concern about being infected with coronavirus has decreased slightly since early April, with fewer people reporting they are very concerned about the outbreak. However, concern among Democrats continues to be significantly higher than concern among Republicans. About eight in ten Americans (79%) are concerned about coronavirus infection for someone they know or themselves. Democrats (89%), again, are significantly more likely than Republicans (69%) to feel concerned.
  • Americans are more willing to participate in essential activities and are less willing to participate in non-essential activities or those that involve large groups of people. A majority report they would go grocery shopping (91%), go to work (71%), and get a haircut at a barber or salon (56%). Very few are willing to go to a gym or health club (27%), go to a bar (24%), or attend a sporting event in a large stadium (19%)
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  • Overall, Republicans are more likely than Democrats to participate in most activities right now. The greatest differences are going shopping in a mall, eating at a restaurant, and getting a haircut at a barber or salon with at least a 35-point difference for all. Men are more willing than women to stay in a hotel and go to a gym or health club (51% and 34% vs. 39% and 21% of women, respectively).

 

Washington, DC, May 8, 2020

Sixty-four percent of Americans say opening the country now is not worth it because it will mean more lives being lost, according to the latest ABC News/Ipsos poll. Under the surface, however, there are significant differences between men and women, white and non-white Americans, and Republicans and Democrats.

Detailed findings

  • Nearly all Democrats (92%) say opening the country is not worth it, nearly 60 percentage points higher than Republicans (35%). There is a more than a 30-point difference between non-white Americans (84%) and white Americans (52%) who hold this view. At the same time, 72% of women do not believe opening the country is worth it due to more lives being lost, compared to 54% of men.  

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  • Compared to two months ago, more Americans are working from home, and the number of Americans working from their regular workplace has been more than halved. Currently, 22% are now working from home (up from 3% in March), and 24% are working from their regular workplace (down from 55%). Nearly half (46%) are not currently employed, up from 35% in March.
  • The number of Americans who are concerned that they, or someone they know, will be infected with the coronavirus has declined slightly, to 77% from 82% last week.

Washington, DC, May 1, 2020

According to a new ABC News/Ipsos poll, a strong majority of Americans would be unlikely to resume activities where big groups are present, even if coronavirus-related restrictions were lifted tomorrow. However, partisanship plays a role in decision-making, with Republicans more likely than Democrats to resume activities they did pre-COVID.

1. Less than one in four would be likely to go to places where big crowds tend to gather for leisure activities, including a movie theater (24%), bowling alley (22%), bar (21%), or a sporting event in a large stadium (20%). 

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2. Americans are more open to going to restaurants, church, and sending their children to school, but a majority still stay they would be unlikely to do these activities if restrictions were lifted tomorrow.

  • Forty-five percent of parents with school-aged children would be likely to send their kids back. More than one in three (36%) say they are not likely at all.
  • Among those that previously attended church or ate in restaurants, less than half (46% and 44%, respectively) are likely to return to these activities in the near term.
  • Only going to work (77%) and getting a haircut (51%) see majorities of Americans willing to return.

3. Across the board, Republicans show a greater likelihood to return to these activities than Democrats. The greatest differences are on attending church, staying in a hotel, and eating at a restaurant.

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Washington, DC, April 24, 2020

The latest ABC News/Ipsos poll finds that Americans are supportive of social distancing measures and are much more concerned about moving too quickly and costing lives than moving too slowly and damaging the economy.

  • Almost three-quarters (72%) of Americans say that they are more concerned with moving too quickly rather than too slowly.
    • Republicans are much more likely to say they are more concerned about ‘moving too slowly to loosen stay-at-home orders which would make the economic impact worse, with more jobs being lost’, evenly split 47% to 53% (more concerned about moving too quickly).
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  • Almost all Americans (86%) support social distancing policies saying ‘social distancing and stay-at-home orders are responsible government policies that are saving lives’.
  • Supporting both of these, only a minority of Americans (20%) say they are likely to return to social public spaces tomorrow if restrictions were lifted.

Washington, DC, April 17, 2020

The latest ABC News/Ipsos poll finds that Americans are settling into the altered reality of the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing, with few expecting it to go back to normal any time soon.

  • Among the 9 in 10 Americans whose daily routines have been disrupted by the coronavirus, the majority (69%) do not expect to get back to that routine until after July 1.
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  • Americans are adapting to the current conditions with 4 in 5 expressing concern about being infected (personally or someone they know) and 3 in 5 wearing a face mask or covering when leaving their homes.
  • Views of President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus response are stable this week, with 44% approving and 54% disapproving.

Washington, DC, April 10, 2020

The newest ABC News/Ipsos poll finds that Americans continue to be divided on President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus response, with a majority disapproving. This comes as most express concern about the pandemic, with a quarter saying they’ve grown more pessimistic in the last few days. 

  • This survey conducted April 8-9, 2020 finds that 44% of Americans approve of the way Donald Trump is handling the response to the coronavirus, down from 47% last week and 55% on March 18-19. 
  • Almost all Americans, 86%, report being somewhat or very concerned about being infected by the coronavirus, similar to the 89% observed last week. 
  • About half of Americans, 48%, report using face masks or face coverings when leaving home, following the new government guidance.
    • Excluding those who say they have not left home in the last week (13%), 55% of Americans who’ve left home have used face coverings.

Washington, DC, April 3, 2020

The newest ABC News/Ipsos poll shows that the American public is cooling on President Trump's handling of the coronavirus outbreak. This comes as virtually all Americans report their daily routines changing because of the outbreak and almost universal concern about infection. 

  • This KnowledgePanel survey conducted April 1-2, 2020 finds that 47% of Americans approve of the way Donald Trump is handling the response to the coronavirus, down from 55% two weeks ago and 51% in last week's ABC News/ Washington Post poll. 
  • Virtually all Americans, 89%, report being somewhat or very concerned about being infected by the coronavirus, up from 79% two weeks ago. 
  • Likewise, almost all Americans, 91%, report their regular routine changing because of the outbreak. 
    • Among those affected, a majority - 56% - say they don't expect to resume their regular routine until after July 1st. 

Washington, DC, March 20, 2020

A new ABC News/Ipsos poll finds that over the last week Americans are dramatically altering their behavior in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Additionally, approval of President Trump’s handling of the response has swung markedly positive.

Detailed Findings

1. From last week (March 11-12) to this week (March 18-19), the number of Americans who have cancelled or postponed major social activities has almost tripled:

  • This week, 72% of Americans have cancelled or postponed activities compared to only 26% last week;
  • The most dramatic changes are in not going out to dinner (now 57% from 9%), not attending religious services (now 33% from 3%), and not attending sporting events or concerts (now 32% from 9%).
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2. Additionally, Americans report major shifts towards working from home or not being currently employed:

  • The number of Americans reporting that they have shifted to working from home has climbed to 17% from 3% last week;
  • Correspondingly, the number of Americans continuing to work from their regular workplace has dropped from 55% to 36% now.

About the Study

This ABC News/Ipsos Poll was conducted March 11th to 12th, 2020 by Ipsos Public Affairs KnowledgePanel® – a division of Ipsos. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 502 general population adults age 18 or older.

This Wave 2 ABC News/Ipsos Poll was conducted March 18th to 19th, 2020 by Ipsos Public Affairs KnowledgePanel® – a division of Ipsos. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 502 general population adults age 18 or older. 

This Wave 3 ABC News/Ipsos poll was conducted April 1 to April 2, 2020, by Ipsos using the probability-based KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 559 general population adults age 18 or older. 

This Wave 4 ABC News/Ipsos poll was conducted April 8 to April 9, 2020, by Ipsos using the probability-based KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 512 general population adults age 18 or older. 

This Wave 5 of ABC News/Ipsos poll was conducted April 15 to April 16, 2020 by Ipsos using the probability-based KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 514 general population adults age 18 or older. 

This Wave 6 of ABC News/Ipsos poll was conducted April 22 to April 23, 2020 by Ipsos using the probability-based KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 506 general population adults age 18 or older. 

This Wave 7 of ABC News/Ipsos poll was conducted April 29 to April 30, 2020 by Ipsos using the probability-based KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 518 general population adults age 18 or older. 

This Wave 8 of ABC News/Ipsos poll was conducted May 6 to May 7, 2020 by Ipsos using the probability-based KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 532 general population adults age 18 or older.

This Wave 9 of ABC News/Ipsos poll was conducted May 13 to May 14, 2020 by Ipsos using the probability-based KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 564 general population adults age 18 or older.

This Wave 10 of ABC News/Ipsos poll was conducted May 20 to May 21, 2020 by Ipsos using the probability-based KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 773 general population adults age 18 or older.

This Wave 11 of ABC News/Ipsos poll was conducted June 3 to June 4, 2020 by Ipsos using the probability-based KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 706 general population adults age 18 or older.

This Wave 12 of ABC News/Ipsos poll was conducted June 10 to June 11, 2020 by Ipsos using the probability-based KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 686 general population adults age 18 or older.

This Wave 13 of ABC News/Ipsos poll was conducted June 17 to June 18, 2020 by Ipsos using the probability-based KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 727 general population adults age 18 or older.

This Wave 14 of ABC News/Ipsos poll was conducted June 24 to June 25, 2020 by Ipsos using the probability-based KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 579 general population adults age 18 or older.

This Wave 15 of ABC News/Ipsos poll was conducted July 8 to July 9, 2020 by Ipsos using the probability-based KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 711 general population adults age 18 or older.

This Wave 16 of ABC News/Ipsos poll was conducted July 22 to July 23, 2020 by Ipsos using the probability-based KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 543 general population adults age 18 or older.

The survey was conducted using the web-enabled KnowledgePanel®, which is the largest and most well-established online panel that is representative of the adult US population. Our recruitment process employs a scientifically developed addressed-based sampling methodology using the latest Delivery Sequence File of the USPS – a database with full coverage of all delivery points in the US. Households are randomly selected from all available households in the U.S. Persons in these households are invited to join and participate in the web-enabled KnowledgePanel®. For those potential panel members who do not already have internet access, Ipsos provides a tablet and internet connection at no cost to the panel member. Those who join the panel and who are selected to participate in a survey are sent a unique password-protected log-in used to complete surveys online. As a result of our recruitment and sampling methods, samples from KnowledgePanel cover all households regardless of their phone or internet status and provide fully representative online samples to the research community.

The study was conducted in both English and Spanish. The data were weighted to adjust for gender by age, race, education, Census region, metropolitan status, household income, and party identification. The demographic benchmarks came from the 2019 March supplement of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS). Party ID benchmarks are from recent ABC News/Washington Post telephone polls. The weighting categories were as follows:

  • Gender (Male/Female) by Age (18–29, 30–44, 45–59, and 60+)
  • Race/Hispanic Ethnicity (White/Non-Hispanic, Black/Non-Hispanic, Other or 2+ Races/Non-Hispanic, Hispanic)
  • Education (Less than High School, High School graduate, Some College, Bachelor and beyond)
  • Census Region (Northeast, Midwest, South, West)
  • Metropolitan status (Metro, non-Metro)
  • Household Income (Under $25,000, $25,000-$49,999, $50,000-$74,999, $75,000-$99,999, $100,000-$149,999, $150,000+)
  • Party ID (Democrat, Republican, Independent, Other/None)

The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4.1-5.3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample of adults. The margin of sampling error takes into account the design effect, which was between 1.29 and 1.48. The margin of sampling error is higher and varies for results based on sub-samples. In our reporting of the findings, percentage points are rounded off to the nearest whole number. As a result, percentages in a given table column may total slightly higher or lower than 100%. In questions that permit multiple responses, columns may total substantially more than 100%, depending on the number of different responses offered by each respondent.

For more information on this news release, please contact:
Chris Jackson
Vice President, US
Public Affairs
+1 202 420-2025
chris.jackson@ipsos.com

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The author(s)

  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Mallory Newall Director, US, Public Affairs
  • Jinhee Yi Research Analyst, US, Public Affairs

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