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Gallup: Almost 70% in U.S. say COVID-19/viruses are most urgent health issues

Dec. 4 (UPI) — An overwhelming majority of Americans say COVID-19 and viruses in general are the chief health concerns right now in the United States, according to a Gallup survey Friday.

Gallup said a record 69% of respondents identified the coronavirus/viruses as the top domestic health issue. The previous record was 62%, for HIV/AIDS, when Gallup first started asking the question in 1987.

Six percent identified some “other” ailment as the top concern and in a four-way tie for third (4%) are cancer, the cost of healthcare, obesity and access to medical care. Small shares of respondents also identified heart disease, mental illness, diabetes, drug and alcohol abuse and “government interference” as the chief concern this year.

“It comes as no surprise that Americans consider COVID-19 as the most urgent health problem facing the country, after millions have been infected and more than 270,000 have died from it,” Gallup wrote.

“No other issue has been named by a greater percentage of Americans as the top health challenge than COVID-19 in at least 33 years.”

Politically, Gallup said 78% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents identified the coronavirus/viruses as the top health concern, compared to just 57% of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents.

Historically, HIV/AIDS was the most-cited top concern among Americans between 1987 and 1999, Gallup said. This year, no respondents specifically said HIV/AIDS is the nation’s chief health concern.

“Starting in 2000, Americans’ health concerns have shifted more toward problems with the healthcare system than with specific health conditions,” Gallup added. “Healthcare cost or access has been the top concern for most of the past two decades.”

Gallup polled more than 500 adults in every state and Washington, D.C., for the survey, which has a margin of error of 5 points.

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