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Americans Fear the Coronavirus

But most aren't changing their behavior, poll finds

There is a wide disparity between beliefs and behavior when it comes to the novel coronavirus, despite public health experts, government officials, and business executivesurging Americans to stay home. California’s Bay Area has mandated a “shelter in place” policy for some 7 million residents, which requires them to remain at home barring essential activities. New York City may be expected to follow suit.

Seventy-four percent of Americans are afraid of accidentally spreading the virus to vulnerable people even if they are asymptomatic, according to a new survey from Harris Poll. But they’re not changing their daily patterns to actually mitigate risk to other people, according to the survey of 2,050 U.S. adults between March 14 and March 15.

Eighty-nine percent of Americans are still going to coffee shops and 58% have not changed how often they’re inviting people over, according to the Harris Poll survey respondents, whose age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region, and household income were weighted to bring them into line with their actual proportions of the U.S. population.

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