Most Americans don’t trust President Donald Trump’s handling of the Coronavirus outbreak, according to a new Axios/SurveyMonkey poll. In contrast, majorities of Americans do trust major public health organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), according to that same poll. Only 42 percent of respondents “say they trust President Trump to protect Americans from a major outbreak,” while levels of trust in various national and international health agencies are in the 60 to 70 percent range. 75 percent trust the CDC, 68 percent trust the National Institutes of Health and state health departments, and 67 and 66 percent of respondents trust local emergency offices and the WHO, respectively.
Unsurprisingly, Republicans trust Trump the most, by far. 84 percent of them opt for trusting Trump, and overall, they “have more trust in President Trump than they do in any of the local, national, or international organizations staffed with experts who are trained to manage public health crises.” It’s not exactly reassuring for Trump to be leading a veritable cult of personality, although — to be clear — he has no immediately relevant public health experience or competence whatsoever. During one recent interview that he did with Fox News’s Sean Hannity, he suggested that the World Health Organization’s reported fatality rate for the Coronavirus was false, based on nothing but a “hunch.”
Pointedly, Trump’s insistence to his followers that mainstream media sources peddle “fake news” may be driving their distrust of competent health agencies. 79 percent of respondents said that “they’re closely following updates on coronavirus in the news,” and those respondents were all about “equally likely to say they trust various organizations to handle the coronavirus outbreak,” the poll report explains. But on the flip side, respondents who said that they “do not get news from major news sources on a daily basis are decidedly less trusting of the major international, federal, and local level public health organizations.”
That’s despite the fact that it’s public health professionals who’ve been the source of truth during the crisis. For example, the National Institutes of Health’s Dr. Anthony Fauci admitted to Congress that the U.S. Coronavirus testing regimen was a “failing” while Trump and his own cronies refused to acknowledge any major issues. At a follow-up press conference days later, at the very same podium that Trump pompously told people to “relax,” Fauci said that the worst is likely yet to come for the U.S.
Fauci today: "The worst is yet ahead for us," possible there'll be hundreds of thousands of US deaths, young people aren't safe
Trump today: "It's something we have tremendous control of," "it will all pass," young people "just are not strongly affected" https://t.co/omfjT2Rr7O
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) March 16, 2020
There have been about 4,700 cases of the virus reported in the U.S. so far — on Monday alone, the count grew by almost 1,000. There’ve also been almost 100 Coronavirus deaths in the U.S. — as of Tuesday morning, the count is at about 93.
The measures that the Trump administration and local authorities have rolled out to combat the spread of the virus have been wide-ranging. The White House banned the majority of travel from most countries in Europe, while jurisdictions across the U.S. have forced the closure of many types of establishments like bars and restaurants. These closures have left large swaths of Americans struggling financially, which helped drive the latest Coronavirus relief funding package that Congress has been developing.