More Los Angeles County residents are leaving their homes and venturing back into public life as the economy reopens, prompting a reduction in psychological distress but heightening anxiety that reopening is occurring too quickly and could cause serious new coronavirus outbreaks, according to a new survey.
The results of a survey by the USC Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research and analyzed by L.A. County officials were revealed Monday by Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer amid a major increase in new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations tied to the reopening of businesses and people getting back to old routines, such as private gatherings, without wearing masks or keeping distance from people.
In mid-April, nearly 86% of L.A. County residents said they stayed home at all times except for essential activities or exercise; by the last week of June, only 58% said they were doing so.
More L.A. County residents are also having close contact — being in a distance within 6 feet — with people outside their household. In mid-April, only about 31% of L.A. County residents had such close contact with people outside of their household; by the last week of June, 55% were doing so.
As the reopening has accelerated, however, fewer L.A. County residents are reporting a fear of running out of food because of a lack of money or other resources. In early April, 30% of L.A. County residents surveyed were worried about running out of food; that figure fell to roughly 11% for the last week of June.
Additionally, fewer L.A. County residents are now reporting psychological distress as the reopening accelerated. In early April, 47% of surveyed county residents reported mild, moderate or severe symptoms of psychological distress; as the reopening accelerated, 36% reporting feeling such symptoms.
There was also a slight reduction in the percent of L.A. County residents who reported the pandemic posed a moderate or substantial threat to their household finances; 64% said it did so in mid-May; 56% said it did so in mid-June.
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