Americans Worried But Hopeful Amid Coronavirus: Ad Council

During the new coronavirus pandemic, there are outcomes we as Americans cannot choose. From lost jobs to canceled events to where the outbreak hits, coronavirus has unavoidably impacted us all in one way or another.

However, we can choose our attitudes toward the pandemic and, according to a new Ad Council study, Americans from every corner of the country are choosing to be hopeful, grateful and to hold their heads high.

The weekly study — the second conducted by the Ad Council — looks at how Americans are coping with coronavirus, and how their feelings about the pandemic and its effects are changing over time. To determine how Americans are feeling, the Ad Council analyzed online conversations and conducted an online survey of 1,000 adults from across the country.

Among key findings in this week’s report: With the exception of young people, there is less worry about the pandemic. Older respondents feel as if they have all the information they need — when to quarantine, how many cases are near them, etc. — leaving more room for them to feel grateful, hopeful and relaxed.

Despite the positive attitudes displayed by most, anxieties stemming from the coronavirus pandemic are still being felt by Americans. While those anxieties are down from last week, respondents said they are most worried about the economy, the health of medical and other front-line workers, and people not taking the coronavirus pandemic seriously.

Here’s more on the key findings from this week’s survey:

Younger Americans are the most financially impacted — and the most worried.

Out of all groups surveyed, younger Americans between the ages of 18 and 30, while grateful, more often reported feeling anxious, tired and isolated. Nearly 90 percent also said the coronavirus pandemic has financially impacted them in some way, compared with 23 percent of those ages 45 to 64 and 12 percent of those over 65.

While social media usage and generational habits can play a role here as well, the survey notes, the struggle of young people is unquestionable. To add a bit of context, the top emojis used by the 18-34 age group include the loudly crying face, the sad face, the pleading face, the ever-present face with tears of joy, and the upside-down face.

The coronavirus pandemic is having a significant impact on families.

More than 80 percent of Americans said the coronavirus pandemic has financially impacted them at least a little bit, and nearly one in four have experienced a very large financial impact.

For families and parents, the effect is even greater: Almost 90 percent of respondents with kids under 18 reported a financial impact, compared with 77 percent of those without kids in the home. Parents also reported being more worried about the coronavirus than those without kids, and they’re also significantly more likely to feel anxious, tired and irritable right now.

Lower-income Americans have greater needs and more concerns about coronavirus.

Lower-income Americans report drastically different needs than those with higher incomes, according to the survey. While higher-income respondents said their needs center mostly on a need for personal protective equipment and help with staying healthy and active, the impact on lower-income Americans is much more profound. In fact, lower-income Americans reported needing general financial assistance due to loss of income, and help affording household bills, food and housing. Lower-income Americans also were more likely to report feeling lonely and depressed, and that they need mental health support.

Concerns also vary by income level. Higher-income Americans are more worried about the economy and the health of front-line workers. Lower-income Americans are more worried about crime, losing jobs, health and mental health, and the ability to pay bills.

Northeasterns are the most impacted, most worried and most anxious.

Geography plays a big role in how Americans are feeling about the coronavirus pandemic. Residents of Northeastern states such as New York — the hardest hit state with more than 203,000 cases as of Wednesday midday — were more likely to say they know someone who’s developed COVID-19 and were more worried about having personal protection equipment on hand.

However, Western states saw the biggest jump: In the Ad Council’s first survey, fewer than one in five respondents knew someone who has or has had the virus. The number grew to nearly three in 10 this week.

Northeasterners are also more worried about the health of medical and other front-line workers compared to other regions, as well as the health and mental health of friends and family.

Overall, slightly more people this week now know someone who has/had the coronavirus. However, the Ad Council report found that Americans are “significantly less worried this week than they were last week.”

See the full Ad Council report online

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