Study Shows Partisan Divide in How Seriously Americans Take Coronavirus

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It was a telling visual — President Donald Trump laying a Memorial Day wreath without a facial covering, and Joe Biden doing the same while wearing a mask.

It prompted a mocking tweet, retweeted by Trump, from Fox News anchor Brit Hume: "This might help explain why Trump doesn't like to wear a mask in public."

"I think you look a lot sillier with a breathing tube down your throat," said Dr. Roy Perlis, director of the Center for Quantitative Heath at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Perlis says masks are among the most important ways to stop the spread of coronavirus.

"We know that from science," he said. "We know that from medicine. And yet, your political party seems to impact how willing you are to comply with that."

Perlis is referring to the center's new study, which found that when it comes to the coronavirus, there is a clear partisan divide regarding perception of risk.

Seventy-one percent of Democrats support wearing a mask versus 53% of Republicans; 69% of Democrats support social distancing versus 56% of Republicans; 78% of Democrats support avoiding public places compared to 67% of Republicans.

"It all tracks remarkably cleanly with the places where Trump is popular versus the places where he's not," said Southern New Hampshire University professor Dean Spiliotes.

Spiliotis says you can get a good indication of how someone will feel about mitigation strategies by finding out where they live and how they get their news.

"Most Americans now consume their information in silos," he said. "They use different sources based on ideology."

The study also shows when it comes to the pandemic, 92% of Americans trust scientists and doctors versus politicians, with 53% trusting Congress and 49% trusting President Trump.

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