coronavirus news

News Briefs | COVID-19: Census Impact, Asian Americans Targeted, Travel Options

By State Legislatures Staff | July 30, 2020 | State Legislatures Magazine

Census Survey Measures Impact of Covid-19

As of July 22, for example, 41% of Americans had delayed getting medical care because of the virus, 35% expected a loss in employment income, 11% experienced food insecurity and 99% had seen a disruption of their K-12 education. 

The figures come from the U.S. Census Bureau, which is working with five federal agencies to analyze the social and economic effects of the pandemic on American households. Called the Household Pulse Survey, it examines the ways individuals are experiencing business curtailment and closures, stay-at-home orders, school closures, changes in the availability of consumer goods and consumer patterns, and other abrupt and significant changes to everyday life. It also measures states’ and some cities’ levels of employment, food and housing security, and physical and mental well-being.

Asian Americans Targeted Since Virus Arrived

A majority (58%) of Asian Americans surveyed in early June said it has become more common for people to express racist or racially insensitive views toward them than it was before the virus came to America, according to a Pew Research Center study. Other findings among the Asian Americans surveyed include:

  • 39% said people acted as if they were uncomfortable around them because of their race or ethnicity.
  • 36% said they worried a great deal or a fair amount that other people might be suspicious of them if they wear a mask in stores or other businesses.
  • 31% said they had been subject to slurs or jokes because of their race or ethnicity since the outbreak.
  • 26% said they feared someone might threaten or physically attack them.

On the positive side, 28% of Asian Americans said they had received expressions of support because of their race or ethnicity since the outbreak began.  

Road Trips Are the Travel Option Likely to Return First

Only 44% of Americans are planning an overnight vacation in 2020, according to a recent survey conducted for the American Hotel and Lodging Association. Normally, about 70% of Americans do in any given year, according to the marketing research firm OmniTrak. Of those who will travel, 72% said they plan to drive, and 55% said their destination will be a family event such as a wedding or reunion. Most (78%) said they’re planning to stay four nights or less, suggesting long-weekend trips will be the first vacation option to return. Others will stick to day trips only.

The travel industry has been one of the hardest hit by the fallout from the virus. The unemployment rate in the leisure and hospitality sector went from 5.7% in February to 35.9% in May, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, with the average worker earning $17.39 an hour at 25.7 hours a week—or $11,620 a year.

“Travel is by no means back yet, but we are encouraged to see people begin to travel as their communities reopen, and we all learn to navigate this new normal,” Chip Rogers, president and CEO of the hotel and lodging association, said in a news release.

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