"Objectives: COVID-19 is the most challenging public health crisis in decades in the United States. It is imperative to enforce social distancing rules before any safe and effective vaccines are widely available. Policies without public support are destined to fail. This study aims to reveal factors that determine the American public support for six mitigation measures (e.g., cancel gatherings, close schools, restrict non-essential travel).
Methods: Based on a nationally representative survey, this study uses Structural Equation Modelling to reveal the relationships between various factors and public support for COVID-19 mitigation.
Results: 1). Democrats are more likely than Republicans to support mitigation measures; 2).Favorability towards the political leader (Biden or Trump) can slant public support for COVID-19 mitigation measures among different segments of the public; 3). Indirect experience, rather than direct experience with COVID-19 can motivate people to support mitigation; 4). Concern for COVID-19 is a strong motivator of support for mitigation.
Conclusion: Political polarization poses an enormous challenge to societal well-being during a pandemic. Indirect experience renders COVID-19 an imminent threat."