Panicked New Yorkers Say Government Isn’t Doing Enough About COVID-19


New Yorkers are becoming increasingly panicked as the number of COVID-19 cases increases, and a new survey found that a majority of residents don’t believe the government is doing enough to help the city and state.

In a tracking survey of 1,000 New York City residents by the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, 56% of city residents said they  “did not think the assistance provided by the federal government for NYC and the state as a whole is sufficient to manage the current Coronavirus crisis.”

The crisis is also taking a toll on New Yorkers’ mental health, the survey found, with 44% “feeling nervous, anxious or on-edge more than half the time, while 35% reported similar levels of feeling down, depressed, or hopeless.”

In New York City, 43,139 people have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Tuesday, with 75,795 cases statewide, according to The New York Times. At least 1,550 people in New York have died as a result of the virus. 

Thousands have been tested for COVID-19, as officials continue to enforce social distancing guidelines — and even send police to break up gatherings, according to the Times

The survey is the third of eight planned by CUNY SPH to track attitudes and outcomes related to COVID-19. It was first published by JHC Impact, a blog of the Journal of Health Communication.

In the first survey, New Yorkers said they believed they were at “very low” risk of contracting the novel coronavirus. Now in its third week, the survey found that 55% of respondents believe they are at high risk of getting sick. Twelve percent of respondents reported that someone in their household was sick with symptoms of COVID-19. 

“We continue to see a generational divide in our tracking survey,” Professor Scott Ratzan, distinguished lecturer at CUNY SPH, told JHC Impact. “Younger New Yorkers believe they have a significantly higher chance of getting sick than their older counterparts.” According to data from the New York City Health Department, 52% of confirmed cases are among New Yorkers younger than age 50.

The illness has all but upended the economy, with one estimate projecting that the number of unemployment claims in the U.S. could soon hit 2.25 million. Thirty-six percent of respondents said that at least one person in their household lost their job due to the virus. The survey also found that women in the city are more affected by job loss as men — with 42% compared to 29%. This week’s survey also found that as with last week’s survey, the Latinx and Hispanic communities continue to face more job loss than the city’s other major ethnic groups. 

“It is clear that the economic burden of coronavirus is falling disproportionately on the people in our city who are least able to afford it,” Dr. Ayman El-Mohandes, dean of CUNY SPH told JHC Impact. “It remains to be seen how well we can address these disparities.”