More Data, Better Planning, Less Politics: Chapter 2

UST COVID-19 Resident Survey 1 highlights: While concerns about physical health continue, fiscal concerns are prevalent and on the rise.

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To help assess the national impact of COVID-19 on households and businesses, the USTomorrow community is participating in a series of national surveys developed and conducted by our partners Polco and the National Research Center (NRC). The survey results provide critical input to state and local governments as they lead their communities through this pandemic.

Thanks to those of you who completed UST Resident Survey 1!

Over the upcoming weeks, we’ll continue to share UST Resident Survey 1 highlights to keep you up to date on key trends impacting the nation. These highlights provide insight into the UST community, the national community, and comparisons of the two.

Last week, we shared some highlights from Survey 1: The role of information in managing the pandemic and COVID-19 related knowledge gaps.

Today’s highlight: While residents are concerned about the physical health impacts of COVID-19, fiscal concerns are prevalent and on the rise.

When asked to name their biggest concern related to COVID-19, the most common response from UST survey respondents focused on physical health (specifcally: not catching COVID-19) and the health of their communities. About 1 in 4 of the concerns fell into this category.

Examples of the types of health-related concerns expressed by UST respondents are included below.

Q: What are your household’s biggest concerns right now regarding COVID-19?

  • We are concerned about our immediate health risk, and are staying at home as much as possible. We are most concerned about the risks involved in shopping for groceries and other needed items.
  • Keeping everyone safe and away from this virus, and NOT relaxing the restrictions so soon as it will threaten us all
  • Staying healthy and not spreading the illness. And secondarily, when we can get back to work.
  • Our only concern is the well-being and health of healthcare workers who are on the front lines every day
  • Potential exposure while visiting Grocery stores, pharmacies, and gas stations
  • Safety and health. Overcoming lack of information and misinformation.
  • The spread and ability of hospitals to meet the needs of the community
  • Going out exposing myself — getting groceries, medicines. I have autoimmune conditions and poor immunity, fragile and alone.
  • Maintaining quarantine as a means of social responsibility, as well as staying healthy.

The second most often voiced concerns (about 20% of the open-ended responses) related to loss of jobs, declining income, reductions to retirement savings, and a larger recession. Some comments expressed by UST respondents related to the economic impacts of the pandemic:

Q: What are your household’s biggest concerns right now regarding COVID-19?

  • How to maintain or get back up on our feet with no work available, how to feed our pets and ourselves and keep bills from spiraling out of control, rent and truck payments, utilities etc. If either of us fall ill, that is the greatest concern to access medical care with no insurance and long term health issues from a sustained illness.
  • Getting the country back to work so that the economic damage is not greater than Covid.
  • Earning income to pay bills.
  • An extended macroeconomic event that will affect more than current environment.
  • Worried about employer needing to do layoffs.
  • Trying to conserve financially in case this stretches longer than we expect it to and our jobs become obsolete.
  • Running out of money. My husband’s restaurant is about to close.
  • Making mortgage & vehicle payments.
  • My retirement assets are being financially destroyed. My adult children’s rental income has been cut in half. My adult son is not employed and not eligible for unemployment compensation and his wife is pregnant.
  • Living off retirement savings based on devastated stock values.
  • Staying safe, going broke.

Further, in preliminary results from NRC/Polco’s most recent national study of resident sentiment, economic concerns had risen to the top.

In that same study, about 3 in 10 residents said they experienced loss of employment or loss in income from retirement savings as a result of COVID-19. When asked to rate their household’s physical and economic health, ratings were lower for fiscal health.

These data demonstrate the hard choices facing elected leaders and government staff across the country. Balancing the physical and fiscal health impacts of government policies and programs will be key over the next weeks and months for decision makers as they manage this pandemic.

*Note: US Tomorrow survey results are based on a sample of 1,011 completed surveys. NRC/Polco Resident Impact Survey is based on the responses of a national panel of 2,000 residents.

Next Steps

Please take the UST Resident Survey 2 to allow us to dig deeper into the following topics:

  • How do residents feel about recovery and eliminating quarantine measures?
  • What policies or actions ease residents’ minds or make them more comfortable or uncomfortable?
  • How has COVID-19 affected resident spending and are those spending changes short term?
  • What challenges do residents face going back to work?

Click here to take the UST Resident Survey 2!

And thank you!

Using new data to educate and engage community coalitions on the issues left behind by today’s divisive politics.