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COVID-19 Updates

Three in Four Californians Are Worried About Family Illness, Personal Finances during COVID-19 Pandemic

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Optimism about State’s Economic Outlook at Lowest Level since Great Recession

Note: The findings below are from PPIC’s latest statewide survey. PPIC will release the full survey on Wednesday, April 22. The survey report will be available on the PPIC Statewide Survey page.


SAN FRANCISCO, April 20, 2020—As the number of known COVID-19 cases statewide continues to grow, overwhelming majorities of Californians are worried about a family member getting sick or about their personal finances worsening due to the coronavirus.


Asked how worried they are—if at all—about themselves or someone in their family getting sick from the coronavirus, more than three in four Californians say they are either very (41%) or somewhat (37%) worried. Latinos (60%) and Asian Americans (41%) are more likely than whites (28%) and African Americans (22%) to be very worried.


“Most Californians are worried about a family member getting sick from the coronavirus, while Latinos and Asian Americans are especially likely to say they are very worried,” said Mark Baldassare, PPIC president and CEO.


At the same time, three in four Californians say they are either very (41%) or somewhat (34%) worried about the pandemic having a negative impact on their own or their family’s finances. Half (50%) of Californians with annual incomes below $40,000 are very worried, compared with 42 percent of those earning $40,000 to $79,000 and 32 percent of those with incomes of $80,000 or above. Californians with children at home are much more likely to be very worried (55%) than those without (35%).


“Most Californians are worried about the negative financial impact of the pandemic, while half of those with lower incomes and those with children at home say they are very worried,” Baldassare said.


Asked whether worry or stress related to the coronavirus has affected their mental health, 27 percent of Californians say it has had a major negative impact and another 23 percent report a minor negative impact. Adults ages 18 to 34 and ages 35 to 54 are more likely to say it has had a major negative impact (31% of both age groups) than are those age 55 and over (18%). Renters (34%) are more likely than homeowners (21%) to report a major negative impact on mental health.


“Half of Californians say that the pandemic has had a negative impact on their mental health,” Baldassare said. “Younger adults and renters are especially likely to report feeling worry and stress having a major impact.”


PPIC’s survey highlights a steep drop in optimism about California’s economic outlook. Only 19 percent expect good times financially in the state during the next 12 months. This is down from 49 percent in January 2020 and is lower than at any point since the Great Recession.


“The recent decline in consumer confidence as measured in expectations of good economic times is unprecedented in the history of the PPIC survey, dating back to the late 1990s,” Baldassare said.


About a half of Californians (48%) say their lives have been disrupted a lot by the coronavirus outbreak, with another 36 percent reporting some disruption and 12 percent just a little. Across regions, 53 percent in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area say their lives have been disrupted a lot, compared with 49 percent in the Inland Empire, 45 percent in Orange/San Diego, and 36 percent in the Central Valley.


“Nearly all Californians say their lives have been disrupted, while majorities of Los Angeles and Bay Area residents say that things have changed a lot for them as a result of the pandemic,” Baldassare said.


About the Survey


The Californians and Education survey is supported with funding from the Dirk and Charlene Kabcenell Foundation, the Sobrato Family Foundation, and the Stuart Foundation.


The findings presented above are based on responses from 1,633 California adult residents. The sampling error is ±3.3 percent for the total unweighted sample. Interviewing took place on weekend days and weekday nights from April 1–9, 2020. For the full methodology, see this Cross tabs, Time Trends, and Methodology document.


Mark Baldassare is president and CEO of PPIC, where he holds the Arjay and Frances Fearing Miller Chair in Public Policy. He is founder of the PPIC Statewide Survey, which he has directed since 1998.

OVID-19 Crisis Will Likely  Disproportionately Affect the Health and Finances of Communities of Color

The COVID-19 outbreak will likely disproportionately affect communities of color in both their health and their pocketbooks, compounding longstanding racial disparities in health and economic conditions, according to a new KFF analysis.


While comprehensive data about how the COVID-19 crisis is unfolding are not yet available, early data from some are as suggest groups of color are experiencing disproportionate health and economic impacts. As of April 6, to cite a few examples:

• In Illinois, groups of color accounted for 48 percent of confirmed cases and 56 percent of deaths, while only making up 39 percent of the state’s population.


• In Louisiana, Blacks are 32 percent of the state’s population, but accounted for over 70 percent of COVID-19 deaths.

• In Michigan, although Blacks make up 14 percent of the population, they accounted for 33 percent of confirmed COVID-19 cases and 41 percent of deaths.


• In North Carolina, Blacks are 21 percent of the population, but accounted for 37 percent of confirmed COVID-19 cases.

• In Washington D.C., Blacks accounted for 59 percent of COVID-19 deaths, while making up 45 percent of the district’s population.


The new numbers stand alongside existing data that suggest that many people of color are at increased risk for experiencing serious illness if they contract COVID-19 due to higher rates of certain underlying health conditions such as diabetes and asthma compared to Whites. Non elderly Black, Hispanic, and American Indian and Alaska Native adults are more likely than Whites are to report fair or poor health, according to KFF analysis of federal survey data.


People of color also are more likely to be uninsured and to lack a usual source of care, which could translate into increased challenges accessing COVID-19 testing and treatment services. Among the non elderly, 22 percent of American Indians and Alaska Natives lacked health coverage in 2018, as did 19 percent of Hispanics and 11 percent of Blacks, compared to 8 percent of Whites.

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The Bus Suspends Fares and Implements New Practices as Part of Response to Covid-19 Emergency

MERCED – The Bus is suspending collection of fares on all fixed-route and para transit service went into effective April 10, 2020 and is implementing additional safety measures aimed at protecting passengers and bus drivers during the COVID-19 emergency. In addition to daily disinfecting and social distancing measures already implemented on vehicles, plastic coverings will be added to the front of buses to separate the area between passengers and drivers. Passengers are strongly encouraged to wear a mask while on The Bus and may only use the service to provide or receive essential services in accordance with the order announced by the Merced County Public Health Officer. Bus drivers will be required to wear masks as supplies are available.


“The fare suspension is critical to protecting the drivers operating this essential service for our community,” said Christine Chavez, Transit Manager for The Bus. “By temporarily discontinuing the collection of bus fares, drivers will not have to come into close physical contact with each passenger boarding the bus or handle any cash transactions which is another potential source of exposure.”


There are currently 180 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Merced County;  four individuals have died from the virus. Passengers are also encouraged to wash their hands often, cover all coughs and sneezes, stay home when sick, and avoid direct contact with sick individuals. For more information about COVID-19, please visit the Merced County website: www.countyofmerced.com/coronavirus.


The Bus is the single public transportation service provider for all of Merced County and is administered by the Transit Joint Powers Authority for Merced County and managed by the Merced County Association of Governments (MCAG). All bus schedules and hours of operation can be found at www.mercedthebus.com or by calling The Bus at (209) 723-3100. Real-time information regarding bus locations, services and arrival times can be found at www.thebuslive.com or by downloading ‘The Bus Live’ app on your smart phone for free. All buses are equipped with bike racks and are wheelchair accessible.

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