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Inside Sources: Americans ready to ease up on lockdown, poll finds

A staff worker checks the body temperature of a customer before entering a supermarket in Madrid, Spain, Spain, Wednesday, April 29, 2020 as the lockdown to combat the spread of coronavirus continues.(AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

SALT LAKE CITY — Americans are over this lockdown, their health is being compromised by isolation, and they are ready to start moving back to normal, according to a national poll.

Political analyst and independent pollster Scott Rasmussen joined Deseret News Opinion Editor Boyd Matheson on “Inside Sources.” They talked about the shifting opinions of the public in regards to the ongoing COVID restrictions and quarantines. 

Poll results show lockdown opinions are changing

When the coronavirus pandemic first hit America and society went into lockdown, 72% of voters surveyed thought social distancing was a good idea and an appropriate government action to save lives and stop the spread of disease. Only 14% disagreed, Rasmussen said.

“But we’re clearly shifting right now. If we ask if shutdowns are appropriate today, just half the country says yes. People in urban areas more likely to think they’re appropriate. People in rural areas less likely to do so,” Rasmussen said.

But if the lockdown continues for another 60 days, people are saying “that will be a really bad thing,” according to the poll.

Health effects during isolation

Rasmussen said 73% of people are saying it’s important for their mental health to interact with people again.

About a third say they have a close friend or family member who has become severely depressed due to isolation, he said.

A fourth say they know someone close to them who is drinking too much.

Just over a third say they have put on weight or have had some other kind of health issues during lockdown.

“We are at a point where people are saying, ‘OK, it was necessary upfront to take some action, but now the costs are beginning to shift in the other direction,'” Rasmussen said.

Other health impacts

“You mentioned the number of people who may be drinking too much, but [polling] still shows the American people don’t like to be over-regulated” by the government, Boyd said.

“The World Health Organization [WHO] acknowledges that there is a problem with alcohol abuse associated with these lockdowns,” Rasmussen said, “and so they have recommended that governments restrict access to alcohol, but most people aren’t going along with that. Only 30% of voters nationwide think that that is the right approach.”

Half the voters say the better approach now is to ease up on the restrictions, he said. 

“It’s not throw open all the doors and party like there’s no tomorrow. It’s much more of a sense of let’s take some of this pressure off and let’s begin to get things back to normal,” he said.

Humans are social animals

“It seems to me that one of the things people are really longing for most — even more than the economic connection — they want that social connection,” Boyd said.

“People are looking for society to be reopened not just the economy,” Rasmussen said.

He said the survey found that the more data people have, the more comfortable they  are about reopening society.

“Anything that surprises you in this national poll?” Boyd asked.

“There is still a really strong sense that the government ought to provide financial help for people rather than encouraging them to go back to work,” Rasmussen said. “I think again that this comes from the idea that if you’re home you’re safe and when you go out to work you might be at risk.”

 

Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson can be heard weekdays from 11:00 a.m to 12:00 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app.


How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus spreads person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A 

Utah’s Coronavirus Information 

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States