Coronavirus and Worried Americans

Grind for January 26th
“I busted a mirror and got seven years bad luck, but my lawyer thinks he can get me five.”
– Steven Wright

Bad News

The Headline

SARS-related spreads to the United States

The Grind

The mysterious illness that broke out in Wuhan, China late last year reached the United States January 15th when a passenger flew from China to Seattle, reports the CDC:

“The patient sought care at a medical facility in the state of Washington, where the patient was treated for the illness…Based on the patient’s travel history and symptoms, healthcare professionals suspected this new coronavirus.

The Details

The virus, recently identified as a member of the coronavirus family (the same family that causes SARS), has infected nearly 300 people throughout China and caused at least six deaths.

The Center for Global Infectious Disease Analysis estimates there could be as many as 1,700 infections.

The virus, dubbed “2019-nCoV,” produces a type of pneumonia with symptoms including fever, cough, difficulty breathing, and lung lesions. Officials believe the virus is linked to a Chinese seafood market that sells exotic pets.

Cases of 2019-nCoV have also been identified in Thailand, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea – with every patient having just visited Wuhan.

To prevent the spread of the disease, several countries are quarantining visitors from China or implementing scanning procedures at airpots. North Korea recently announced a temporary ban on all foreign travelers.

On Monday, Chinese officials confirmed the virus could spread from one person to another.

Fake News

The Headline

Most Americans are worried about election interference

The Grind

A recent poll conducted by NPR/PBS/Marist suggests a majority of voters are worried about the security of the upcoming election.

When asked whether the US is prepared to keep November’s elections safe and secure, 41% responded “not very prepared” or “not prepared at all.”

The Details

Reflecting the divisiveness of modern politics, Democrats were far more likely than Republicans to voice concerns about election security.

“Like so many issues, Americans view election security from opposite poles of the partisan divide,” explains pollster Lee Miringoff.

Nearly 60% of Democrats surveyed said they thought President Trump hasn’t done enough to improve election security; 75% of Republicans believe he has.

“I can trust [Trump’s] word to know that he is going to try as best as he can…in order to stop influence from foreign countries in our elections,” says Joel Martin, a Republican from California.

In the meantime, President Trump is on trial for his attempt to “bribe” the Ukrainian President to investigate Joe Biden.

Survey results suggest 88% of Democrats and 51% of Independents believe Trump actually encouraged election interference, with one participant describing Russia’s interference in the 2016 election as “the biggest assault on United States sovereignty since Pearl Harbor.”

While federal investigators determined that Russia did attempt to influence the 2016 election, there is zero proof that any votes were changed by the interference.

When asked about the largest threat to the 2020 elections, Democrats were most likely to choose “voter suppression.” A majority of Republicans chose “voter fraud” and Independents chose “misleading information.”

In terms of misinformation, nearly 60% of respondents admitted that it is hard to tell the difference between real and false information and 55% believe it will be even harder to identify fake news in 2020.

Roughly 80% of respondents are convinced other countries will attempt to interfere in this year’s elections and 75% are not confident in the ability of social media and other tech companies to police misinformation.

Did you know… Dogs have been man’s pet for over 14,000 years.