What's safe to do during a pandemic? We polled America

What's safe to do during a pandemic? We polled America

What is safe to do during the pandemic? As states begin to reopen, it might feel hard to tell. Should we still wear masks outside? (Some areas don’t require it, while Virginia just made them mandatory for all public indoor spaces.) Is it risky to get a haircut? (Several states have reopened salons, while others deem them still too dangerous.) And can we visit friends and relatives? It’s not yet clear where Americans stand on these questions as they begin to venture out of quarantine. So over Memorial Day weekend, in partnership with Morning Consult, POLITICO asked nearly 2,000 Americans to rate the relative risk of a dozen common activities from 1 to 10. Then, we asked a panel of 18 public health experts to give their professional opinion. The survey provides a snapshot of where Americans see the most danger — and where they’re most out of sync with experts. Let’s first ask the most important respondent of all: You. Here’s a scenario that was especially relevant last weekend: On this question and several others, expert opinion lined up with what Americans already think. “My first reaction was that there’s remarkable consistency,” said Elizabeth Stuart, a professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who consulted with POLITICO in creating the survey. “It’s reassuring, at a broad level, that people are getting the public health messages and are able to distinguish between relatively lower risk and higher risk.” Other situations were a bit thornier. Here’s ...
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