As the nation struggles to rein in new cases of coronavirus, most Americans by a wide margin disapprove of the way President Donald Trump has tried to manage the crisis, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll published on Wednesday.
The poll finds that nearly three-in-five Americans, 58 percent, disapprove of how Trump has handled the pandemic and believe he has done a poor job of trying to address and contain the spread of COVID-19. Only 37 percent of Americans believe Trump has done a good job.
Nationally, coronavirus cases have jumped by 25 percent over the past seven days. Spikes have been seen in states that were particularly less restrictive about social distancing, or that have relaxed their rules earlier than others, such as Texas, Florida and Arizona.
Daily coronavirus cases in the country as a whole appear to be trending upward. According to Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center, Tuesday was the third-highest day of new cases being reported since the pandemic reached the U.S., with around 34,700 new cases being recorded.
More than 2.3 million cumulative cases of coronavirus have been identified in the U.S. at this point, with more than 120,000 Americans having died from the disease so far. Other tracking websites have higher estimates of these numbers, and indeed, most experts believe any data being reported right now are conservative guesses of what the true total entails.
A separate New York Times/Siena College poll released this week shows similar disapproval numbers for Trump on the issue of coronavirus, with 58 percent of registered voters in that poll also saying the president has done a poor job leading on the issue.
Trump’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a host of other issues, may be contributing toward dismal electoral support for him in the run-up to November. In that same poll, voters said they preferred Joe Biden, the Democratic challenger to Trump in this year’s presidential race, by a margin of 50 percent to 36 percent.
Many have been critical of Trump’s response to the disease from the beginning, perhaps with good reason. For several weeks in February and early March, Trump refused to acknowledge coronavirus could pose a problem for the United States, suggesting it was a “new hoax” that his political opponents were using to make him look bad.
Trump has not demonstrated a deep understanding about how the disease works, however, including predicting early on that warmer spring temperatures would kill the disease off on its own, citing no scientific evidence to back up his assertions. He also flouted social distancing rules, such as wearing a mask in public, and even encouraged other Americans to protest against states’ efforts to quell the spread of COVID-19, running counter to standards that were promoted by his own administration while doing so.
The president appeared to demonstrate more confusion on Tuesday, when he appeared at a rally in Phoenix, Arizona. At that event, Trump lamented that there were too many names for coronavirus, although in making that complaint, he cited racist terminology that health experts have cautioned against using.
Trump then expressed wonder at where the “19” in “COVID-19” came from, recounting an early conversation with experts on the matter.
“I said, ‘what’s the 19?’ COVID-19, some people can’t explain what the ‘19’ [means],” Trump said. “COVID-19, I said ‘that’s an odd name’.”
The number in COVID-19 refers to the year (2019) in which that version of the disease was first observed.