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Nearly 60% of Americans believe US is reopening too quickly: ABC poll

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As confirmed cases and hospitalizations from COVID-19 continue to rise, nearly 60% of Americans said they believe the United States is moving too quickly to reopen the economy in a new ABC News/Ipsos poll. 

In the poll, released Friday, 59% said they think the US is reopening too fast, 26% said they believe the economy is reopening at about the right pace, and 15% said they believed the economy is reopening too slowly. The poll surveyed 711 Americans between July 8-9 with a margin of error of ±4.1 percentage points. 

The 59% who think the United States is reopening too quickly is up by three percentage points from the 56% who said they thought the US was reopening too quickly in the last ABC/Ipsos, conducted June 24-25.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to accelerate in the United States, which has surpassed 3.1 million confirmed cases and 133,000 deaths as of Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The United States reported over 65,000 new confirmed cases on Thursday, breaking a record for the most new cases documented in one day. The US has set records for the highest number of new daily cases reported six out of the last ten days, according to The New York Times.

And as analyses from The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal have found, the current spike in coronavirus cases can be largely attributed to southwestern and southern states like Arizona, Texas, and Florida that initially took a relatively hands-off approach to the virus at the beginning of the pandemic and then rushed to reopen. Other densely-populated parts of the country like Southern California are also seeing rises in cases. 

The worsening state of the pandemic and rise in hospitalizations has led 15 states to pause their plans to reopen, and caused six states to reverse their reopenings and reimpose new restrictions on gatherings and closures of some public spaces to limit the spread of the virus, according to The Times.

Respondents also overwhelmingly disapprove of President Donald Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, with 67% disapproving and 37% approving. 

In recent days, Trump has dismissed the severity of the outbreak. He has also perpetuated misinformation about the virus by claiming that 99% of cases are “totally harmless” and that the rise in cases is largely due to an increase in testing.   Both claims have been rebutted by public health experts in his own administration. 

“There is no question that the more testing you get, the more you will uncover, but we do believe this is a real increase in cases because of the percent positivities are going up. So this is real increases in cases,” Admiral Brett Giroir, an Assistant Secretary of Health & Human Services who is serving as the White House’s coronavirus testing czar, said in a July 2 congressional hearing.

And in an interview with the Financial Times, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert refuted Trump’s comments, which he made at the White House on Saturday, that 99% of cases are “harmless.”

“I’m trying to figure out where the president got that number. What I think happened is that someone told him that the general mortality is about 1 per cent. And he interpreted, therefore, that 99 per cent is not a problem, when that’s obviously not the case,” Fauci said.

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