Poll Finds Many Americans, Especially Republicans, Say Coronavirus Outbreak Was Exaggerated

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According to a new Pew Research study, an increasing proportion of Americans, especially Republicans, believe that the coronavirus pandemic is being exaggerated and view news of the outbreak with partisan views.

Overall, almost 64 percent of American adults believe that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and public health organizations understand the data on COVID-19 "almost all the time," while the 30 percent say the same thing about the Trump administration.

Most self-identified Democrats believe that five sources are correct: their data from the CDC and public health groups at 76 percent; 62 percent state governors and governments; local and national media with 62 percent and 60 percent, respectively.

Only 9 percent of Democrats said the Trump administration gets its rights to the coronavirus. Among Republicans, 54 percent believe the White House presents accurate information. Meanwhile, many Republicans are skeptical about news sources, and only 38 percent believe the same for local media and national media with 25 percent.

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Of those who only trust the White House to receive news of the pandemic, 68 percent said the outbreak has "made a bigger deal than it actually is."

"Almost all of the American adults who say Trump is their primary source of information are Republicans (totally 92%), but even compared to others within his party, they stand out," the study said. "Republicans who trust the president for the COVID-19 news are 11 percentage points more likely than Republicans who turn mainly to other sources to say the outbreak has been overblown."

As the outbreak continued to spread in March and blockade orders were imposed on communities across the country, some Republican lawmakers and conservatives began to question such mandates and the science behind security protocols: face covers, trade closings, and bans. in large gatherings.

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When the pandemic dominated the news cycle in April through the end of May, just before George Floyd's death and the nationwide protests that have erupted since then, the proportion of Americans who said the outbreak was overblown increased from 29% at 39%.

Just under 50 percent of Republicans felt that way in late April, compared with 63 percent in early June, according to the study. Among Democrats, the increase in the same time period saw a slight increase from 14 percent to 18 percent.

As of Monday, the US reported more than 2.5 million COVID-19 infections and more than 126,000 deaths, according to the CDC.

Many Americans also find it difficult to separate fact from fiction, according to the study. More than 70 percent have heard at least "a little" about the conspiracy theory that the virus was intentionally planned by powerful people. More than 35 percent believe it is "definitely" or "probably" true.

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"Republicans and Democrats are just as likely to have heard about the conspiracy theory that powerful people planned the pandemic, but Republicans are much more likely to see the truth," the study said.

Those who rely on social media to get their news on COVID-19 reported higher levels of exposure to conspiracy theories, he said.

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