25% of Americans think COVID-19 patients should immediately go to the ER

More Americans are taking preventive actions to prevent COVID-19's spread amid growing concerns about the outbreak, according to a new survey from Kaiser Family Foundation.

KFF polled a nationally representative sample of 1,216 adults from March 11-15, assessing their knowledge of and concern over the coronavirus outbreak. KFF then compared these results to a similar survey it conducted in February.

Six survey findings:

1. About 62 percent said they were worried that they or a family member would get sick. This finding marks a large contrast from the 56 percent of Americans who said they were "not too concerned" or "not at all concerned" about COVID-19 in KFF's February coronavirus poll.

2. More than one-third of respondents said they were concerned they wouldn't be able to afford testing or treatment for COVID-19 in the March survey.

3. Fifty-three percent of workers expressed concerns about losing their income due to work closures or reduced hours.

4. Many respondents reported taking preventive measures to help prevent the novel coronavirus' spread. For example, 42 percent reported changing or canceling travel plans, up from 13 percent in KFF's February poll.

5. Other preventive actions include:

  • Avoiding large gatherings — 40 percent
  • Stocking up on food, supplies and medications — 35 percent 
  • Staying home from work or school — 26 percent
  • Buying or wearing a protective mask — 12 percent

6. Most respondents knew that individuals who think they may have COVID-19 should stay home and call their provider. However, one-fourth of respondents thought they should immediately visit an emergency room or urgent care facility.


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