How has President Donald Trump done so far when it comes to responding to the coronavirus pandemic and its spread across America? How concerned are Americans overall when it comes to catching the disease personally?
According to an ABC News/Ipsos poll released on Friday, neither question offers optimistic answers that this administration was probably hoping for.
The poll found that two-thirds of voters (66 percent) have concerns over possibly getting infected themselves, while only 34 percent say they’re not that worried about it. Interestingly, Republicans are less likely to be concerned than the general public, with about 44 percent saying they’re not concerned.
BREAKING: Two-thirds of Americans are concerned that they or someone they know will be infected with the novel coronavirus, according to new @ABC News/Ipsos poll. https://t.co/Cz0WQ1ZXoi pic.twitter.com/C9YNf26lbA
— ABC News (@ABC) March 13, 2020
When it comes to Trump’s job performance, the president has, as recently as Thursday, touted a separate poll that said he had a 78 percent approval rating on the matter.
But that statement is highly misleading — Trump is citing a poll from over a month ago, when there was only one case of coronavirus identified in the United States. And, that poll’s question didn’t even ask about him specifically, questioning participants to respond to whether they were “generally confident in the federal government’s ability to handle a potential coronavirus outbreak.”
The ABC News/Ipsos poll, meanwhile, found a very different outcome, when actually asking respondents what they thought of Trump’s handling of the outbreak. Only 43 percent approved of how he’s gone about addressing coronavirus in the U.S., while 54 percent said they had reason to disapprove of his job performance.
— ABC News (@ABC) March 13, 2020
Much of the negative attention toward the Trump administration over its handling of the pandemic rests in the fact that there are shortages in testing kits to determine who exactly has the disease to begin with.
Only a little more than 11,000 tests have been conducted so far by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention since the outbreak began, a dismally low number in comparison to other nations like South Korea, which conducts 20,000 tests daily, according to NBC News.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, and who also serves on the administration’s COVID-19 task force, testified before Congress about the test shortages, admitting that there were problems.
“The system is not really geared to what we need right now” with regards to coronavirus testing, Fauci explained. “That is a failing. It is a failing. Let’s admit it.”
Less than an hour after Dr. Fauci warned about problems with coronavirus testing, President Trump said “the testing has been going very smooth.”
This is President Trump’s #DailyLie. It just isn’t true.
The Trump administration needs to get a handle on testing Now. pic.twitter.com/T47tcT6GzA
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) March 12, 2020
Just an hour after Fauci made those comments, Trump himself suggested that testing in the U.S. had been going “very smooth.”
Chris Walker is a freelance journalist based in Madison, Wisconsin, who focuses on news, politics, and analysis of world events. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, since 2005 Chris has reported on workers’ rights protests in Wisconsin, opined on four separate presidential elections and written on a number of other political subjects for a variety of national online publications.