National nightmare: 1 in 5 Americans expects they’ll be diagnosed with coronavirus

  • StudyFinds survey shows that 1 in 10 adults believe they have coronavirus right now, but that figure jumps to about 1 in 5 for millennials and young adults
  • 14% of Americans aren’t concerned at all about the virus, while 20% say they are “very concerned”
  • Most respondents agree that life will get back to normal within three to six months, though 7% feel society will never be the same again

BALTIMORE — Just as fear over the spread of the coronavirus has gripped the nation, so too has speculation over the level of precaution people should be taking since President Donald Trump declared a national emergency. Many families are hunkering down during this unsettling period, heeding suggestions by experts to practice “social distancing” and avoiding unnecessary contact with others. Still, some believe such practices are extreme measures and don’t see the need to entirely uproot their daily lives. Now, a survey on the matter conducted over the weekend by StudyFinds reveals that about one in five Americans believe they’ll catch the virus eventually, and a third admit having some fear about leaving their own home.

Do you think you will contract Coronavirus?The survey of 502 people at least 18 years old shows that fear and panic doesn’t seem to be completely overtaking most households, but plenty of Americans are worried. In all, 19% of respondents think they’ll be diagnosed with coronavirus at some point.

Interestingly, about one in ten people went as far to admit they believe they have coronavirus right now. But younger adults seem to be more worried. Of the 275 participants who shared which age bracket they fall into, a stunning 20% of respondents ages 18-29 and 18% of those 30-45 think they’ve already contracted the virus. That’s compared to 9% of adults 45-60 and just 3% of those 60 and older.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website is urging people who think they might be have the virus to contact their doctor. “If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice,” the site says.

A recent Johns Hopkins study found that symptoms for the coronavirus typically appear within five days, so it would be wise to follow the most stringent precautions if you’ve been exposed to a person with coronavirus.

How concerned are you about catching coronavirus?Meanwhile, despite the hysteria, 14% of Americans aren’t concerned at all about contracting the coronavirus. Conversely, 20% of respondents are “very concerned,” while 31% are “somewhat concerned.” Another 34% feel “a little concerned.”

Even though most Americans harbor some level of worry, 45% of respondents haven’t reached the point where they’re afraid to leave their homes. About a third (34%) are “a little afraid” and 15% are “somewhat afraid” to venture out. Just 5% of adults admit they’re “very afraid” of leaving home.

How satisfied are you with the government's response to the coronavirus?When it comes to feelings about the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, overall more than a quarter (27%) of respondents are not satisfied at all. Among the 275 respondents who shared their age bracket,  that number balloons to 45% for both the youngest and oldest segments. Similarly, 28% of respondents are “very satisfied” with the Trump administration’s handling of the crisis, but that figure drops to just 14% for adults over 60.

As for when Americans believe society will finally return to “normal,” respondents overwhelmingly agreed by the end of 2020. Seventeen percent even believe that will occur within a month from now. More than half (56%) feel life will get back to its old ways within three to six months, and 11.5% think it will take until the end of the year for everything to go back to normal.

Another 15% of respondents are much less optimistic: 8% don’t see society recovering until sometime after 2020, and 7% don’t believe life will ever be the same again.

As mentioned earlier, while all 502 participants were at least 18 years old, 275 shared which age bracket they fall into. Here’s a look at how those respondents answered each of the survey questions. (Note: The averaged result bellow for “All” only considers those 275 participants, not the entire surveyed group.)


Age breakdown of Coronavirus survey

One thing that’s certain is the coronavirus outbreak has America mired in a level of uncertainty not seen in decades. The CDC is suggesting families not take the situation lightly: it’s better to be over-prepared for the worst should things grow more dire. Among their tips, the agency’s website recommends:

  • Consider 2-week supply of prescription and over the counter medications, food and other essentials. Know how to get food delivered if possible.
  • Establish ways to communicate with others (e.g., family, friends, co-workers).
  • Establish plans to telework, what to do about childcare needs, how to adapt to cancellation of events.

Click here for more information and the latest updates from the CDC on the COVID-19 outbreak.

The survey was conducted online via SurveyMonkey.