Clear Majority of Americans are Concerned About Coronavirus

Older respondents are more concerned about the impact on markets

The author(s)
  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
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Washington, DC, February 28, 2020 — As we’ve seen increasing reports about the global spread of the novel coronavirus outbreak, Ipsos conducted new public opinion research to gauge the impact on the American public's behavior to date. Our study finds that while clear majorities of Americans are concerned about the impact of the coronavirus on the country, markets, and themselves, only a few have made significant changes to their behavior in the past few days.

This Ipsos survey finds that 74% of Americans are concerned about the impact of the coronavirus on the United States, with 61% concerned about the impact on the markets. Fifty-seven percent are concerned about the impact on them personally. Older respondents are more concerned about the impact on the country in the markets, while younger people are more concerned about the impacts on themselves.

Concern over the outbreak is increasing. Two in five Americans report their concern over the outbreak has grown in the past week (42%), and about half of Americans (50%) believe it is likely that the coronavirus will become a full-blown crisis in the United States. With this concern comes strong support for strong containment measures, like the federal government placing a quarantine on cities or towns – including large cities like New York, Chicago, or San Francisco – if the coronavirus is found there (80%).

Additionally, about a quarter of Americans (24%) report that they have started regularly checking for news online more frequently than a few weeks ago, suggesting greater desire for current updates. A third of Americans (34%) have also reported making a point to purchase preventative health products such as masks or gloves in the past few days.

Despite growing concern, only a minority of Americans report substantially changing their behaviors in the last few days with 12% saying they canceled plans to attend an event, 9% selling stocks or bonds, and 7% canceling travel plans.

About the Study

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between February 26-27, 2020. For this survey, a sample of roughly 1,005 adults age 18+ from the continental U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii was interviewed online in English. The sample includes 212 respondents in the Northeast, 249 in the Midwest, 338 in the South, and 206 in the West.

The sample for this study was randomly drawn from Ipsos’ online panel (see link below for more info on “Access Panels and Recruitment”), partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling (see link below for more info on the Ipsos “Ampario Overview” sample method) and does not rely on a population frame in the traditional sense. Ipsos uses fixed sample targets, unique to each study, in drawing a sample. After a sample has been obtained from the Ipsos panel, Ipsos calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the U.S. Population using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The source of these population targets is U.S. Census 2016 American Community Survey data. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on demographics. Posthoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, race/ethnicity, region, and education. 

Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online non-probability polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for all respondents. Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=1,005, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=+/-5.0 percentage points).

The poll also has a credibility interval of plus or minus 7.7 percentage points for the Northeast, plus or minus 7.1 percentage points in the Midwest, plus or minus 6.1 percentage points in the South, and plus or minus 7.8 percentage points in the West.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Chris Jackson
Vice President, US
Public Affairs
+1 202 420-2025
[email protected]

Kate Silverstein
Media Relations Specialist, US
Public Affairs
+1 718 755-8829
[email protected]

For more information on COVID-19 please click here​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

About Ipsos

Ipsos is the world’s third largest market research company, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people.

Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. We serve more than 5000 clients across the world with 75 business solutions.

Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since July 1st, 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD).

ISIN code FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP


The author(s)
  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs