Americans Don't Trust Congress to Contain Coronavirus Outbreak, 74% Concerned About Infection Spreading: Poll

Congress is the least-trusted institution to contain the new strain of coronavirus, which has spread from China to the U.S. and other countries, claiming dozens of lives so far.

A Morning Consult poll found that 59 percent of Americans lacked confidence in the ability of Congress to contain a coronavirus outbreak. Just 23 percent had confidence in Congress.

There is also widespread worry about the novel coronavirus, with 74 percent of Americans either very or somewhat concerned about the situation.

The poll of a national sample of 2,200 adults was conducted online between January 24 and January 26, with the results published on Monday evening. The margin of error is plus or minus 2 percentage points.

There are five confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the U.S. and a further 73 test results pending of people under investigation for infection, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says there are 2,798 confirmed novel coronavirus cases globally, the vast majority of which—2,741—are in China.

Eighty people have died and around a quarter of confirmed cases are severe. Another 5,794 cases are suspected in China alone.

The outbreak is suspected to originate at a food market in the Chinese city of Wuhan where wild animal meat is sold, including masked palm civets, beavers and snakes.

Chinese authorities temporarily banned the wild animal trade in response to the outbreak, The Associated Press reported.

The ban's official notice promised to "strengthen inspections and severely investigate and punish those who are found in violation," per the report.

Other countries with confirmed novel coronavirus cases include Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, Thailand, Nepal, the U.S., Canada, and France.

The Morning Consult poll found that Americans had the most confidence in the CDC's ability to contain coronavirus.

Of those surveyed, 68 percent were very or somewhat confident in the CDC. A fifth (20 percent) lacked confidence in the CDC.

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The results of Morning Consult's poll about American attitudes to the coronavirus outbreak and the ability of their institutions to contain it. Morning Consult

WHO officials said last Wednesday it was too early to declare a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) over the outbreak.

A meeting of the WHO's emergency committee said it would reconvene in another 10 days or so from the meeting, or potentially sooner, to reassess the urgent situation.

Experts at the WHO fear the novel coronavirus may be transmissible by people who are infected but show no symptoms, which complicates containment efforts.

According to the CDC, symptoms of the novel coronavirus include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, and can appear between two and 14 days after exposure.

The illness seen in people confirmed to have the novel coronavirus range from little or no symptoms to a sickness severe enough to be fatal, the CDC said.

"WHO is continually monitoring developments and on standby to reconvene the emergency committee on very short notice as needed," the WHO said on Monday in its most recent update.

"Committee members are regularly informed of developments."

China coronavirus Wuhan US poll Congress
Security personnel wearing protective clothing to help stop the spread of a deadly coronavirus, which originated in the central city of Wuhan, China, checks a passenger's temperature at the entrance of subway station in Beijing on January 28, 2020. NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images