Poll: 68% personally know someone who got COVID-19 as cases spike across U.S.

U.S. & World

Results do not differ much across demographic groups

covid chairs memorial

People walk past empty chairs on display to represent the 200,000 lives lost due to Covid-19 at he National Covid-19 Remembrance on the ellipse, behind the White House on October 4, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – As the United States closes in on 9 million cases of COVID-19, two thirds of Americans say they know someone who has been diagnosed with the virus that has plagued the country for 10 months.

Sixty-eight percent of U.S. adults personally know someone who has been diagnosed with the coronavirus, according to NBC/SurveyMonkey’s latest weekly tracking poll released Tuesday. Thirty-one percent do not personally know someone who tested positive, and 1% did not answer.

The poll, conducted Oct. 19-25 among 73,903 adults, is nationally representative of age, race, sex, education level and geography. Its margin of error is +/- 1 percentage point.

For most polls, you can read the margin of error (MoE) like this: If the poll were to be done again 100 times, in 95 of those times the results would be within “X” percentage points of the original.


So let’s say a national poll of a sampling of registered voters, with an MoE of +/- 3, has:

  • Joe Biden at 53%
  • Donald Trump at 47%

  • You can be 95% certain that a hypothetical poll of all registered U.S. voters would yield results between these extremes:

  • Biden 56/Trump 44 (+3 more for Biden, -3 fewer for Trump)
  • Trump 50/Biden 50 (+3 more for Trump, -3 fewer for Biden)
  • More than 8.7 million people in the U.S. have been infected with the coronavirus since December 2019, according to a tally from NBC News, and more than 226,000 have died. In the past week, cases and deaths reached new daily highs: 79,303 cases on Oct. 23 and 1,245 deaths on Oct. 21.

    Sixty-nine percent of respondents said they are “somewhat” or “very” worried that they or someone in their family will be exposed to the virus.

    While older adults are more susceptible to contracting the virus, there was little difference among age groups on who knows someone who contracted COVID-19. In fact, more people aged 18 to 34 (65%) knew someone with COVID-19 than those 65 and up (63%).

    The same applies to people across political affiliation, income level and race/ethnicity. Thirty-three percent of Republicans and those who lean Republican know someone who was diagnosed with COVID-19, compared to 36% of Democrats/leaners.

    Richer people are far more likely to know someone who tested positive, 78% of those making more than $100,000, compared to 58% of those making less than $50,000. As for race and ethnicity, White people, Black people and Hispanic people only differed by a couple percentage points (67-69%), while Asian people came in at 56%.

    Other findings from this week’s poll

    • 74% say COVID-19 has impacted their daily life in a “major way.”
    • 71% are worried that the pandemic will have a negative effect on their household’s finances.
    • 54% disapprove of President Donald Trump’s handling of the pandemic, compared to 44% who approve. Similarly, Americans disapprove of his overall job as president, 53% to 45%.
    • 50% are confident that the Nov. 3 election will be conducted in a fair and equal way, while 48% are not.

    Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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