A new poll finds 62% of New Yorkers think that the worst of the coronavirus pandemic is still to come, while only 27% think that the worst is over.
A vast majority of New Yorkers also believe that racism is a significant problem in the state, according to the Siena College Research Institute poll results released Monday.
A 70-22% margin of New Yorkers prefer that the government’s priority be containing the spread of the coronavirus, even at the expense of the economy, rather than restarting the economy at the risk of public health,
The poll found that 18% of New Yorkers think it very likely and 46% somewhat likely that by September schools in their area will reopen. A larger majority, 82%, think it is either very (39%) or somewhat (43%) likely that in the fall, the state will face another large outbreak of COVID-19.
“Majorities of every demographic, except Republicans, think that we haven’t seen the worst of the pandemic, and majorities of every demographic want the government to concentrate on containing the virus even if the economy suffers,” said Don Levy, SCRI director.
He said nearly 80% are concerned that they, or another member of their household, will get sick with COVID-19.
Overwhelming percentages of New Yorkers are adhering to public health recommendations including social distancing, hand washing and wearing a mask at least as much as they can if not completely.
Seventy-three percent are always wearing a protective mask when outside their home when social distancing may not be possible, and an additional 17% wear a mask as much as they can.
Sixty-four percent always, and an additional 31% usually, wash their hands after touching any surface or after coughing or sneezing, and 56% completely adhere to the social distancing recommendations while 36% social distance as much as they can.
As New York reopens, between 56-64% are at least somewhat or very comfortable with eating in an outdoor area at a restaurant (64%), enjoying recreational activities like tennis or golf (64%), going to a playground or park (61%), going to a barbershop or salon (60%) and visiting a beach or lakeshore (56%).
However, 65% are either not very (30%) or not at all (35%) comfortable with eating in an indoor area at a restaurant.
Regarding race, 81% think systemic racism is either a very (47%) or somewhat (34%) serious problem in New York. A third of all New Yorkers and 71% of Blacks across the state say they often witness or hear about people being discriminated against because of their race or ethnicity.
Only 29% of residents say they seldom or never are aware of racial or ethnic discrimination.
“New Yorkers agree, systemic racism is a problem,” Levy said. “Dramatic majorities of every demographic by party, age, race and region think systemic racism is at least a somewhat serious if not a very serious problem.”
While 36% describe themselves as “not racist,” 53% prefer to say that they are “anti-racist,” Levy said.
Siena polled 810 registered voters between June 28-July 2, and again between July 6-8. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.