WASHINGTON — As President Donald Trump tells Americans not to be "afraid" of Covid-19 or let it "dominate" their lives, a majority of Americans continue to worry that someone in their family will be exposed to the coronavirus, according to new data from the NBC News|SurveyMonkey Weekly Tracking Poll.
Sixty-five percent of American adults say they are worried that someone in their family will be exposed to the virus (32 percent say they are very worried, while 33 percent say they are somewhat worried) in new results captured from Sept. 28 to Oct. 4. Over that period, there were an average of 42,871 daily coronavirus cases and 692 daily deaths from the virus, according to NBC News' analysis.
That's a decline of only 5 percentage points since the first week of the poll, from June 29 through July 6, when a combined 70 percent said they were worried (36 percent were very worried, and 34 percent were somewhat worried). Over that week, for comparison, an average of 596 people died from the virus, and there was an average of 47,597 new daily cases.
Trump argued for weeks that the United States was "rounding the corner" on the pandemic — even as case numbers continued to climb across the country. Trump revealed that he had tested positive for Covid-19 early Friday and was taken later in the day to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. He was discharged Monday evening to continue battling the virus at the White House.
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Announcing his discharge on Twitter, Trump told his followers: "Don't be afraid of Covid. Don't let it dominate your life." Over 210,000 people in the United States have died from the coronavirus, and there have been over 7 million cases in the country.
There's been some confusion about the severity of the president's illness. The White House physician, Dr. Sean Conley, said he and the medical team were trying to reflect the "upbeat attitude" of the team and the president when he told reporters that Trump was doing very well Saturday.
By Sunday, the public learned that the president needed supplemental oxygen in at least two cases when his oxygen levels dropped and that he has been prescribed remdesivir (used to treat milder cases of the virus) and dexamethasone (a strong steroid that some doctors say should be used only in serious cases of Covid-19). Trump has also been given an infusion of an experimental antibody treatment.
Trump's positive test followed reporting that his close aide Hope Hicks had tested positive Thursday. Since then, several Trump aides and Republican senators have also tested positive.
The survey also found that there's been a small decline in those who say they're worried that the outbreak will have a negative effect on their household incomes, compared to the past few months — 38 percent say they're very worried, and 32 percent say they're somewhat worried. Twenty-nine percent say they aren't too worried or aren't worried at all.
Back in early July, 41 percent said they were very worried, 33 percent said they were somewhat worried, 19 percent said they weren't too worried, and 6 percent said they weren't worried at all.
Part of the poll was conducted before Trump's positive test was reported and part of it afterward. The latest results show that the president's approval rating of his handling of the virus has hardly changed since that early July poll.
Now, 27 percent strongly approve of Trump's handling of the virus, with 17 percent more saying they somewhat approve. Nine percent say they somewhat disapprove, and 44 percent say they strongly disapprove.
In the early July poll, 24 percent said they strongly approved of Trump's handling of the coronavirus response. Nineteen percent said they somewhat approved, 11 percent said they somewhat disapproved, and 44 percent said they strongly disapproved.
Data come from a set of SurveyMonkey online polls conducted Sept. 28 to Oct. 4, 2020, among a national sample of 50,146 adults in the U.S. Respondents were selected from the more than 2 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. The modeled error estimate for this survey is plus or minus 1.0 percentage points. Data have been weighted for age, race, sex, education and geography using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the United States ages 18 and over.