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'Just the Beginning': Nearly 1 in 5 Americans Say They or Someone in Their Household Already Lost Hours or Jobs From Coronavirus

"There is no *good* coronavirus plan unless it includes compensation for these 18% of workers. Full stop."

A bar sits closed in the early evening in Brooklyn after a decree that all bars and restaurants shutdown by 8 pm in New York City as much of the nation slows and takes extra precautions due to the continued spreading of the coronavirus.

A bar sits closed in the early evening in Brooklyn after a decree that all bars and restaurants shutdown by 8 pm in New York City as much of the nation slows and takes extra precautions due to the continued spreading of the coronavirus. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

In a troubling sign of the damage already done by the coronavirus outbreak on the U.S. economy, nearly one out of five Americans in a NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll released Tuesday reported themselves or someone in their household having their hours reduced or losing their jobs as a result of the public health crisis.

"And this is just the beginning," tweeted attorney Rabia Chaudry.

The poll (pdf) showed that 18% of respondents have already seen the economic effects of the crisis hit their jobs.

As the Los Angeles Times reported:

The poll was conducted Friday and Saturday, just after stocks began their steep plunge and normal life started grinding to a halt, with schools and places of worship closing, concerts and conferences being canceled and sports leagues suspending their seasons. In recent days, state and local officials have banned large gatherings and ordered bars and theaters to close in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.

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The poll also found Americans have vastly different views on the severity of the global pandemic and behavior depending on party affiliation:

About 60% of Democrats say they are eating in more often because of the virus, while 63% of Republicans and 60% of independents are not. (A number of states have recently banned eating out, limiting restaurants to takeout to enforce social distancing.)

The polling data indicates that those making under $50,000 a year are seeing the effects more than those in higher income brackets, with 25% of the lower income workers reporting cut hours or lost jobs. 

The economic damage of the crisis to workers, Human Rights Campaign senior writer Ryan Carey-Mahoney said in a tweet, needs to be addressed immediately.

"There is no *good* coronavirus plan unless it includes compensation for these 18% of workers," said Carey-Mahoney. "Full stop."

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