Pew Research Center, April 14, 2020
As the number of confirmed cases of the new coronavirus continues to climb in the United States, the current epicenter of the global pandemic, majorities of Americans are concerned that they may contract the disease and that they may unknowingly spread it to others.
Yet these concerns are much more widespread among black and Hispanic adults than white adults. And there also are differences in concerns across income levels: A third of Americans with lower incomes say they are very concerned they will get COVID-19 and require hospitalization. Among upper-income adults, only about half as many (17%) are very concerned.
Among the public overall, a majority (55%) say they are very or somewhat concerned they will get COVID-19 and require hospitalization; nearly a quarter are very concerned. An even larger share (66%) are concerned they may unknowingly spread the disease to others, including 33% who are very concerned about this.
About half of Hispanic adults (49%) are very concerned about unknowingly spreading COVID-19 to others, compared with 38% of black adults and 28% of white adults. And Hispanics (43%) and blacks (31%) are far more likely than whites (18%) to be very concerned over getting COVID-19 and needing to be hospitalized.
The new national survey by Pew Research Center, conducted April 7 to 12 among 4,917 U.S. adults on the American Trends Panel, finds sharp racial disparities in personal experiences with knowing people who have had serious illnesses arising from COVID-19.
Among the public overall, 15% say they personally know someone who has been hospitalized or died as a result of having COVID-19.
However, about a quarter of black adults (27%) say they personally know someone who has been hospitalized or died due to having the coronavirus. By comparison, about one-in-ten white (13%) and Hispanic (13%) adults say they know someone who has been so seriously affected by the virus.
Just over half of Americans reports being at least somewhat concerned that they could be hospitalized due to the coronavirus (55%) and about two-thirds express concern that they might unknowingly spread it to others (66%). But there are stark racial and ethnic, income, age and partisan differences in the shares saying this.
Both black and Hispanic adults are substantially more likely than white adults to express high levels of concern over the possibility they will get the coronavirus or transmit it to others, with Hispanics particularly likely to report having these concerns.
Seven-in-ten Hispanic adults (70%) say they are at least somewhat concerned that they will be hospitalized due to the coronavirus (including 43% who are very concerned about this). Among black Americans, nearly six-in-ten (59%) are at least somewhat concerned about this, including about a third (31%) who are very concerned. By comparison, about half of white adults (51%) express some concern about the possibility of hospitalization as a result of COVID-19, with just 18% reporting being very concerned about this. There are similar racial and ethnic differences in concerns about the possibility of unknowingly being a vector for the spread of the coronavirus.