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Floridians favor shutdown steps, wish people would wear masks, poll finds

The University of South Florida and Nielsen surveyed residents last month.

An April survey of Floridians by the University of South Florida and Nielsen found that most still see the coronavirus as a threat and wish for statewide mitigation policies, like requiring masks.

Nearly 80 percent said everyone should be required to wear masks in public. About 75 percent are concerned about someone they know contracting the virus in the next three months.

Forty percent agreed that public reaction to the pandemic will do more harm than the disease itself.

The survey of 600 Floridians was conducted from April 15 to 24 and released Wednesday. Its margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

The university and Nielsen, a data and analytics company, next week are expected to release results of a second survey on how the virus has affected the economy, consumers and the workplace.

In the April survey, a large majority of respondents said they supported the state’s closing of restaurants, bars and beaches, as well as the limiting of public gatherings, including those at churches.

Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed said people who violate “stay at home” orders should be fined and that nightly curfews should be put in place.

Related: Keep up with the latest in coronavirus news here

Those surveyed favored state government’s response to the crisis over that of the federal government.

Nearly two-thirds said they trusted Florida leaders “a great deal” or a “good amount” to share accurate information about the pandemic. Even more, nearly 70 percent of respondents, said they supported local government response, and about 76 percent said they trusted information from those entities.

In contrast, about 55 percent of respondents said they trusted information coming from the federal government.

About half of the registered Democrats surveyed disapproved of the federal response, compared to about 10 percent of Republicans and 35 percent of independent voters. A similar trend was seen regarding the state’s response, results show.

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