Since the start of state-wide lockdowns after the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States, poll after poll has demonstrated that Americans remain by and large deeply distrustful of both politicians and mainstream media reporting on the virus.
And naturally, given the extent of unemployment, economic devastation across various industries, and also simply the radical change in the way people conduct their daily lives, Americans are right to question whether lockdown and social distancing protocols have gone ‘too far’.
This all hinged on the following question from the start: is the virus as dangerous and deadly as alarming early health reports indicated? A number of studies from the heart of the scientific establishment suggest that no, it’s not as deadly as most believed early on, but still may be more pervasive across society in terms of asymptomatic carriers.
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And yet current deaths from the disease could still be significantly higher than what’s being reported, given a general shortage testing which has been reported by hospitals, clinics, and even institutions of vast means like the US military. As of Tuesday COVID-19 deaths in the United States are nearing 70,000.
From the start, health officials have warned there’s a likelihood of under-reporting of deaths, given that many have died of complications that sprung from the disease. In these cases deaths would then be listed as complications other than COVID-19, unless an autopsy were performed.
A new Axios-Ipsos poll reflects the growing anxiety among the public of uncounted COVID-19 deaths.
44% of those polled believe people dying from the disease in the US is actually higher than has been officially reported.
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- Only 24 percent of Republicans say the number of coronavirus deaths are more than what has been reported. 36% say it is about the same, while 40% say it is less.
- 63% of Democrats believe the number of deaths is more. 29% say it is about the same, compared to just 7% who say it is less.
- 45% of independents say it is more, compared to 31% who say it is about the same. 24% say it is less.
- 26% say they visited friends or relatives in the last week – up from 19% in a mid-April poll.
- 47% say they’ve canceled summer plans, such as camp or vacation rentals.
- 63% say they’re concerned that the next month could bring food shortages.
- 58% say they are concerned that schools are not going to reopen in the fall.
And yet, even if more Americans believe death numbers could be higher than what’s officially reported, they are still ready and willing to take increased steps to return to normal life and daily routines.
As Axios observes: “At the same time, there’s some softening around how much risk Americans are attaching to various activities and how much risk they’re willing to take.”