A new poll published this week demonstrates that Americans are increasingly pessimistic about how the U.S. has generally responded to the coronavirus pandemic, with a majority believing “the worst is yet to come” for the first time since the start of May.
A CNN/SSRS poll published on Wednesday and conducted from August 12 to 15 finds that only 40 percent of Americans believe the worst of COVID-19 is behind us, while 55 percent say things are going to be worse in the future.
Americans aren’t simply dissatisfied with how President Donald Trump has handled the pandemic (with 58 percent saying they disapprove of how he’s led on the issue), but they’re also ashamed by how things have progressed. Just 28 percent of Americans consider themselves “proud” of the United States’s response to coronavirus, while 68 percent say they’re “embarrassed” over how the country has tried (and largely failed) to prevent the spread of the disease.
Trump’s approval rating on coronavirus is the worst it’s been since CNN/SSRS started asking Americans to grade him on his response to handling the disease. The poll also found that 62 percent of respondents felt he could be doing more to fight the pandemic in the U.S.
Though most Americans say they are embarrassed by the U.S.’s response to coronavirus so far, Trump himself appears to have no such misgivings and has continued to make embarrassing statements about his performance in trying to combat the pandemic. On Monday, for example, Trump tried to downplay the crisis in the U.S. by suggesting that New Zealand, which has been heralded across the globe as an example of how to correctly respond to COVID-19, was facing new difficulties in dealing with it.
That country, Trump said during a campaign event in Minnesota, was now seeing a “big surge” in new cases. “It’s terrible. We don’t want that,” Trump added.
Trump’s comment apparently referred to a report that New Zealand had discovered nine new cases of coronavirus after having eradicated the virus earlier this year. For comparison, on the very day Trump was drawing attention to the “big surge” in New Zealand, the U.S. diagnosed more than 40,000 new cases of COVID-19, and reported 542 new deaths.
On Tuesday, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern responded to Trump’s comments from Monday, pointing out that the number of new cases the president was alluding to as a “big surge” was incomparable to what was happening in the U.S.
“Anyone who is following will quite easily see that New Zealand’s nine cases in a day does not compare to the United States’ tens of thousands,” she said, adding that Trump was “patently wrong” to make such a suggestion.