How the coronavirus is really the only issue that matters

Poll of the week: A new Monmouth University poll finds that 27% of Americans say that the coronavirus pandemic is the biggest issue facing President-elect Joe Biden over the next four years.

That’s the top percentage for any issue, and it follows months of polling from Gallup showing that Americans think the coronavirus is the most important problem facing the country.
What’s the point: President Donald Trump claimed that the media would stop noticing the coronavirus once the election was over. That simply hasn’t been the case. While we have made strides on the development of a vaccine, the coronavirus situation is growing worse, as cases surge and the total death toll rises to more than 260,000 Americans.
The ongoing pandemic means that Biden will have a tough job ahead of him as he begins his presidency in less than two months. Biden’s difficult task isn’t just about the coronavirus cases, but about everything that is connected to it, including the economy and the mental health of Americans.
    The number of new coronavirus cases in America has been the highest in November than it has been in any month so far. That’s nothing new, though still upsetting.
    More worrisome is the number of new hospitalizations that have, not surprisingly, followed. The number of people currently hospitalized is around 90,000, as of this writing, which is the highest of the pandemic as well.
    And as we’ve seen before, the death rate is climbing as well. For the first time since May, America is recording more than 2,000 coronavirus related deaths daily.
    All of these statistics are terrible, and they may get considerably worse.
    Although Americans told Monmouth pollsters that they were 30 points more likely to stay at home for Thanksgiving than in a normal year, many were still going to gather with people from outside their home. In fact, a majority (53%) indicated that they were going to spend Thanksgiving with at least a small number of people from outside of their household.
    Now, the vaccine will probably help to significantly curtail the coronavirus crisis sooner than later, but most Americans won’t get the vaccine until at least a few months into the Biden presidency. The Biden administration will have to help oversee a widescale effort to get folks the vaccine.
    Furthermore, Biden will have to help ensure that Americans actually take the vaccine. While I have argued that the numbers are encouraging on that front, there’s still work that needs to be done for people to trust the vaccine.
    Beyond the virus itself, Biden will take charge of an economy that is in trouble. Some Americans have gained back the jobs they lost during the pandemic, but nonfarm payroll jobs are still 10 million lower than in February. Many Americans have had trouble paying bills, including the rent on their residences. There is a chance of a double-dip recession.
    Indeed, the economy remains a top problem for Americans. In the Monmouth poll, nearly as many Americans said the economy was either first or second biggest issue facing Biden at 36% as said the coronavirus was the first or second most important issue at 42%.
    No other issue when combining first and second gets above 20% for the biggest issue facing Biden.
    Now, almost everybody agrees that a coronavirus pandemic relief package must be passed by Congress and signed into law by Biden to help the economy. Yet it’s not as easy as it might seem.
    Trump and the Congress haven’t been able to agree on a new coronavirus aid package for months. This comes despite the clear majority of both Biden (94%) and Trump (61%) supporters saying another package is necessary, according to the Pew Research Center.
    No doubt the financial troubles and worries have played a role in the mental health of Americans.
    The Axios/Ipsos poll has been asking Americans about their mental health since the beginning of the pandemic. In every single one of those polls to March, more Americans have said their mental health has gotten worse over the last week than better. In the past week, 21% said worse to 11% who said it had improved. (The rest said there was no difference.)
      Likewise, the emotional well-being of Americans has slid. In every week since March, more Americans have indicated that their emotional well-being has gotten than have said it has gotten better.
      The potentially good news is that implementing plans to fight the coronavirus pandemic will help with all of these issues. And with a new administration and a vaccine coming to the forefront, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It’ll take a lot of hard work to get there, though.




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