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The Fordham Poll - Black Americans Bear the Burden of Coronavirus

****EMBARGOED UNTIL 4 p.m. 4/23/20*****

Contact:
Professor Monika McDermott
917-747-1987 (cell)
immcdermott@fordham.edu

Emotional and Safety Burdens Fall Disproportionately on African Americans during the Coronavirus Pandemic

As evidence emerges showing that infections from the coronavirus are disproportionately high in areas with high minority populations, a new poll from Fordham University shows the emotional toll the virus is taking on black and Latinx Americans. Nearly half of each group of Americans reports being extremely or very worried that they or someone in their family will contract the virus, compared to only 38% of whites. Additionally, black Americans are more likely than either white or Latinx Americans to be on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic with higher proportions still required to show up to a workplace, and higher rates of reported personal infection, and of the death of someone they personally know.

The poll, conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago, took place from April 16 through 20, 2020, among 1,003 respondents nationwide. It has a margin of sampling error of 4.33 percentage points. The poll is a product of the Fordham Graduate School of Arts and Sciences’ Advanced Certificate in Public Opinion and Survey Research and its M.A. in Elections and Campaign Management.

Personal experience with the virus

Overall, 13% of Americans report having been diagnosed with the coronavirus by a health care provider. But this number differs dramatically by race: 12% of whites and 15% of Latinx Americans report being diagnosed; but a substantially higher 21% of black respondents report having been diagnosed with the virus.

  Black Latinx White
Been diagnosed with virus 21% 15% 12%
Know someone personally who passed away from the virus 23% 13% 6%

More dramatic still are experiences with mortality from the virus. A full 23% of black Americans report having known someone personally who passed away as a result of the virus, compared to only 13% of Latinx and 6% of white Americans. As Professor Monika McDermott, the poll’s director, explains: “The numbers really paint a picture of two Americas, as is so often the case. African Americans are experiencing the coronavirus pandemic in a far more personal way than are white or Latinx Americans.”

Concerns about the virus

Unsurprisingly, African Americans are also substantially more concerned than whites that they or someone in their family will become infected with the virus.

How worried that you or someone in your family will be infected?
  Extremely Very Somewhat Not too/
Not at all
Black 27% 15% 12% 20%
Latinx 22% 13% 6% 20%
White 18% 20% 39% 23%

Twenty-seven percent of black Americans are extremely worried about themselves or their family, and 22% are very concerned. In contrast, only 18% of white Americans are extremely concerned, and another 20% are very concerned. Latinx Americans are only somewhat less concerned than are black Americans: 22% are extremely worried about the virus infecting themselves or someone in their family and 26% are very concerned.

Personal exposure and race

African Americans seem to be at higher risk for the virus at least partially due to higher reported exposure to the outside world – 32% of black Americans report in the survey that they are still going in to a workplace, as compared to 22% of whites and only 20% of Latinx Americans. This also means that black Americans are out more frequently in places where they are at risk of coming into contact with others.

How often are you somewhere where you could be within 6’ of others? (among those under stay-at-home orders)
  Every day Few days a week Once a week Less
Black 16% 26% 36% 23%
Latinx 11% 15% 34% 38%
White 9% 19% 36% 36%

Sixteen percent of African Americans who are in areas with stay-at-home orders report that they go out daily to a place where they may be within six feet of someone, and another quarter do so a few days a week – for a total of 42%. In stark contrast, only 26% of Latinx Americans and 28% of white Americans are out in potentially crowded places that frequently.

Among all Americans still reporting to a workplace, 72% say their employer is providing them with what they consider to be adequate personal protective equipment, but over a quarter – 28% – say they are not.

Although they are going into work at higher rates, African Americans are engaging in other, optional activities outside the home at lower rates than other Americans. Fewer black Americans have gone out to visit friends and family, and to pick up take-out orders from restaurants than white and Latinx Americans have. And both black and Latinx Americans are less likely than whites to have gone outside to exercise.

Guidance during the virus

When it comes to seeking guidance during the pandemic, African Americans are much more likely than white and Latinx Americans to turn to their friends and family and religious leaders, as well as their state governors and public health officials. By far the biggest differences are on religious leadership. The only source to whom African Americans are less likely to turn to is President Donald Trump.

Source has been very or somewhat important in providing guidance:
  Public Health
Officials
State
Governor
Friends and Family Religious
Leaders
President
Trump
Black 93% 84% 86% 70% 26%
Latinx 82% 71% 68% 43% 41%
White 85% 73% 68% 35% 48%

{Questions 1 and 2 in separate release]

3. Have you or has a close friend or relative been diagnosed with the coronavirus by a health care provider, or not?

Race
  Total White Black Latinx
Yes 93% 84% 86% 70%
No 82% 71% 68% 43%
Don't know/No Answer 85% 73% 68% 35%

4. How worried are you about you or someone in your family being infected with…

a. Coronavirus?

Race
  Total White Black Latinx
Extremely worried 21% 18% 27% 22%
Very worried 21% 20% 22% 26%
Somewhat worried 36% 39% 31% 31%
Not too worried 17% 17% 13% 19%
Not at all worried 5% 6% 7% 1%
Don't know/No answer 0% 0% 0% 0%

b. The flu

Race
  Total White Black Latinx
Extremely worried 9% 5% 16% 13%
Very worried 13% 10% 19% 17%
Somewhat worried 31% 33% 27%

33%

Not too worried 35% 39% 23% 28%
Not at all worried 12% 13% 15% 8%
Don't know/No answer 0% 0% 0% 1%

6. Has anyone you know personally passed away due to the coronavirus?

Race
  Total White Black Latinx
Yes 9% 6% 23% 13%
No 90% 94% 77% 81%
Don't know/No answer 2% 1% 0%

7%

[Questions 7 through 11 held for future release]

12. As far as you know, has the Governor of your state imposed a stay at home, or shelter in place order asking people not to go out except in case of necessity?

Race
  Total White Black Latinx
Yes 89% 90% 92% 87%
No 9% 10% 8% 8%
Don't know/No answer 1% 0% 0%

5%

[Asked of those aware of state orders]

13. Since that order was issued, have you done any of the following?

[Order of items randomized]

a. Gone to the store for groceries or other necessary supplies

Race
  Total White Black Latinx
Yes 91% 89% 97% 90%
No 9% 11% 3% 8%
Don't know/No answer 0% 0% 0%

2%

  1. Gone outside to exercise
Race
  Total White Black Latinx
Yes 66% 72% 51% 53%
No 34% 28% 49% 45%
Don't know/No answer 0% 0% 0%

2%

  1. Gone out to visit friends or family
Race
  Total White Black Latinx
Yes 26% 27% 19% 26%
No 74% 72% 81% 72%
Don't know/No answer 1% 1% 0% 2%
  1. Gone to work
Race
  Total White Black Latinx
Yes 31% 32% 42% 26%
No 68% 68% 58% 72%
Don't know/No answer 1% 0% 0%

2%

  1. Gone to a restaurant to pick up take-out
Race
  Total White Black Latinx
Yes 55% 57% 48% 52%
No 44% 43% 52% 46%
Don't know/No answer 1% 0% 0%

2%

14. On average, how often would you say you have been going out to a place in which you may be within six feet of other people since the stay at home order was issued? Every day, a few days a week, once a week, twice a month, less than twice a month, or have you never put yourself in such a situation?

Race
  Total White Black Latinx
Every day 11% 9% 16% 11%
A few days a week 20% 19% 26% 15%
Once a week 35% 36% 36% 34%
Twice a month 13% 14% 5% 17%
Less than a month 11% 10% 9% 16%
Never 10% 12% 9% 5%
Don't know/No answer 1% 0% 1% 2%

[Questions 15 through 18 in separate release]

[Asked of all]

19. How important have each of the following been to you personally in providing guidance during the coronavirus crisis?

[Order of items randomized]

  1. Your state governor
Race
  Total White Black Latinx
Very worried 34% 33% 49% 24%
Somewhat worried 40% 40% 35% 47%
Not too worried 16% 16% 9% 17%
Not at all worried 8% 10% 7% 5%
Don't know/No answer 2% 1% 1% 1%
  1. President Trump
Race
  Total White Black Latinx
Very worried 19% 23% 8% 13%
Somewhat worried 25% 25% 18% 28%
Not too worried 19% 18% 25% 20%
Not at all worried 36% 34% 47% 32%
Don't know/No answer 2% 1% 3% 7%
  1. Friends and family
Race
  Total White Black Latinx
Very worried 31% 29% 41% 31%
Somewhat worried 39% 39% 45% 37%
Not too worried 22% 25% 10% 18%
Not at all worried 6% 6% 3% 7%
Don't know/No answer 2% 1% 1% 7%
  1. Religious leaders
Race
  Total White Black Latinx
Very worried 16% 13% 37% 15%
Somewhat worried 24% 22% 33% 28%
Not too worried 24% 26% 10% 22%
Not at all worried 34% 39% 18% 28%
Don't know/No answer 2% 1% 2% 7%
  1. Public health officials
Race
  Total White Black Latinx
Very worried 45% 44% 59% 38%
Somewhat worried 41% 41% 34% 44%
Not too worried 8% 10% 2% 8%
Not at all worried 4% 4% 5% 3%
Don't know/No answer 2% 1% 1% 7%

22. As a result of the coronavirus, are you working from home now, not working, or do you still need to go into a workplace?

Race
  Total White Black Latinx
Working from home 19% 19% 18% 16%
Not working 50% 51% 43% 54%
Still going into the workplace 23% 22% 32% 20%
Was already working from home before coronavirus 6% 7% 6% 5%
Didn't know/No answer 2% 1% 2% 5%

[Asked of those not working]

23. Which of the following most accurately describes your current employment status?

  Total
Laid off due to coronavirus outbreak 17%
Suspended WITH pay due to corona outbreak 3%
Suspended WITHOUT pay due to corona outbreak 9%
Voluntarily left job due to coronavirus outbreak 3%
Not in workforce for reasons other than the coronavirus 67%
Don't know/No answer 1%

[Asked of those still going to the workplace]

24. Does your workplace provide you with personal protective equipment that you consider adequate?

  Total
Yes 72%
No 28%
Don't know/No answer 0%