New Yorkers have had to adjust nearly every aspect of their lives during the coronavirus pandemic. An exclusive Spectrum News/Ipsos poll found state residents are re-adjusting their lives to an abnormal year.
New Yorkers largely agree on mask wearing, supporting guidelines that are meant to halt the spread of the virus. They are more skeptical, however, over whether a potential vaccine for COVID-19 is safe.
The poll found a majority of New Yorkers, by a margin of 57% to 40%, fear their kids are falling behind in school amid the pandemic. But a wider majority, 78% to 19%, believe their kids have the tools to learn in the current and unusual environment.
"We are hearing from parents and families that the remote learning is going much better," said New York PTA Executive Kyle Belokopitsky. "However, it's not a replacement for in-person learning. I think parents and families are ready for children to be back in school buildings five days a week. I think kids are ready to be a bit more normal. We're not there yet, but I think we will be soon."
And those adjustments continue for most New Yorkers.
Wearing a mask? Backed by 75% of residents in the state, only 21% disagree. The poll found even bigger sacrifices like the restrictions and closures imposed earlier are not seen as too restrictive: 33% agree they were; 61% believe they were not. This comes as 44% of New Yorkers say they have had trouble paying their bills during this time — a sign the pandemic's economy reach continues to be broad.
"The decision we make as the public are the X factor in this response," said Jayson Kratoville, the interim director of the National Center for Security and Preparedness at the University at Albany. "So the more government is able to be a megaphone for the science and getting us the information we need to make smart decisions, the better of we're going to be."
But when it comes to the safety of a first-generation vaccine, New Yorkers are far more divided over whether they would take one: 45% say they would take one, 44% responded they would not.
"Vaccine effectiveness relies on a large portion of the community getting it," Kratoville said. "So regardless of how clinically effective the vaccine is, it's not going to be effective from a public health standpoint if people aren't confident enough to get it."
And the poll found a majority of New Yorkers by a margin of 55% expect the pandemic to linger well into next year — a sign experts say is a realization the crisis is a marathon, not a sprint.
The poll of 1,451 New Yorkers was conducted from Oct. 7 to Oct. 19. It has a credibility gap of 2.9 percentage points.
Check the Spectrum News App for more coverage of the poll throughout the week.