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Coronavirus Crisis Changing Life In NY

COVID-19 was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and has now been detected in 37 locations across the globe, including in the U.S., according to the CDC.
Composite Image by Dave Lucas (WAMC / cdc.gov)
COVID-19 was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and has now been detected in 37 locations across the globe, including in the U.S., according to the CDC.

New Yorkers say COVID-19 and the resulting "pause" is having a significant impact on their daily lives, according to a new poll.

Siena College Research Institute poll director Don Levy, who battled the disease himself, says overwhelmingly respondents say coronavirus is having a significant impact on their lives.

"87% say that, in terms of specific actions, 14% are under mandatory quarantine, 42% are self quarantining and 39% have cut back on their social interaction or are practicing social distancing. So only 4% of New Yorkers are going about life as usual. Certainly the coronavirus has turned life upside down for New Yorkers."

The level of concern over the economic and financial implications of the "pause" is high.

"Over three quarters say they are somewhat or very concerned that this crisis is going to cause them serious financial problems. That number is even higher among New York City residents. Those residents making under $50,000, 82% of them expect financial crises and 84% of those 35 to 49. A disturbing 50% of New Yorkers 50 years of age or under expect that they may be laid off — they're worried about that.

And 51% of all New Yorkers say they're concerned about being able to meet their monthly obligations and that number goes even higher. Amongst younger New Yorkers, 61% of New Yorkers 18 to 34, 65% of New Yorkers. 35 to 49."

Levy notes another area of concern.

"4 in 10 New Yorkers say that during this crisis, they're concerned about being able to afford food. Again, that number jumps up to over half of the young families with kids in the household, people making under $50,000 a year. But still, only 15% of New Yorkers 65 years of age or older are worried about food."

And there are additional concerns: retirement funds plummeting, the uncertainty of the stock market, the family budget.

"Nearly half, 49% of New Yorkers say they're worrying about having to financially help other family members. So life has been turned upside down by COVID. 82% of us are worried about the health of ourselves and our household. How are we doing emotionally, psychologically? Two-thirds say that their anxiety level is up. Virtually the same number, 66% say that they agree that they feel powerless and wish there was something more that they could do. A disturbingly high number, 62%, say that it's true for them that it's starting to feel like this will never end. That sentiment is higher - 67% among women only 56% amongst men, but 72% of younger New Yorkers while only 49% of older New Yorkers have that feeling that this will never end."

Levy adds there is a small silver lining.

"60% told us that if it wasn't for their ability to see and talk to others via the internet, they think they'd be going crazy. So clearly people are getting on the computer, they're facetiming. They're going to Zoom meetings. So there is some contact is really sustaining some people based on the internet."

76% of all New Yorkers say that they feel like they are enjoying the small things even more now and 75% say that they are appreciating the extra time with loved ones.

Crosstabs The SCRI special Coronavirus Poll was conducted March 30 – April 2, 2020 by random telephone calls to 402 New York adults via landline and cell phones and 400 responses drawn from a proprietary panel (Lucid) of New Yorkers. Telephone sampling was initiated by asking for the youngest person in the household. Telephone sampling was conducted via a stratified dual frame probability sample of landline and cell phone telephone numbers (both from ASDE Survey Sampler) from within New York State weighted to reflect known population patterns. Data from the telephone and web samples were blended and statistically adjusted by age, race/ethnicity and gender to ensure representativeness. SCRI reports this data at a 95% confidence level with a margin of error of +/- 3.6 points including the design effects resulting from weighting.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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