NJ residents feel major impacts near and far from coronavirus
The COVID-19 pandemic has persisted at such a level that now nearly all New Jerseyans say it has had a major impact on their state, their country, and the economies of both.
At least 94% of state residents surveyed in a recent Rutgers-Eagleton Poll said, to each of those four questions, that they felt life had been affected in a major way.
Ashley Koning, Rutgers professor and director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling, said when the questions got more localized and personal, the responses were only slightly less stark.
Just fewer than 8 in 10 (79%) felt their local community had been majorly impacted, while 70% said their own daily lives were greatly changed.
Koning admitted these numbers might still spike even as other key figures relating to the virus in New Jersey continue to go down. In fact, more than 8 in 10 respondents said their finances and emotional well-being had already taken a hit.
"In terms of job aspects, medical aspects, mental health and physical well-being aspects, as time goes on and as the pandemic goes on, we'll certainly see a lot of these numbers increase," she said.
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More than half (54%) of Garden State residents said they've been having to work from home, with 32% reporting that at least one member of their household was laid off, and 44% saying at least one person's work hours or pay had been reduced.
As has been observed with regard to positive COVID-19 cases and fatalities, there are certain demographic trends in the poll's findings, as well as added considerations for those who are juggling jobs and their children's homeschooling.
"One in five, and this is especially a larger number among those with children in the household, say that they've had difficulty working, and working from home, because of taking care of other members in the household such as children," Koning said. "Lower levels of education, those in lower income brackets, those who are living in certain regions, and non-white residents are all more likely to report that they've been more affected in terms of jobs and finances."
Also of note, 13% of residents said that at least the symptoms of the novel coronavirus had reached their homes.
"Even though they haven't been able to require a test, they have experienced symptoms, or someone in the household has experienced symptoms, and among these households, 31% have actually tried to get tested but could not," Koning said.
The poll of 1,502 adults was conducted by phone from April 22 through May 2. The next Rutgers-Eagleton Poll, which asks for more detail on how New Jerseyans feel about their finances during the pandemic, is due out this week.