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Poll: NYers expect 2nd virus wave, want safety over the economy

Health care professionals test for COVID-19 at the

Health care professionals test for COVID-19 at the ProHEALTH testing site in Jericho on March 31. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

ALBANY — New Yorkers don't think the worst is over and believe a second wave of coronavirus infections is on its way, according to a Siena College poll released Monday.

Siena said 62% of New Yorkers surveyed said the worst of the pandemic is yet to come, while 27% said the worst is over. Along those same lines, a larger majority — 82% — believe it is either very (39%) or somewhat (43%) likely the state will face another large outbreak of COVID-19 in the fall. 

By a 70-22% mark, residents prefer the government’s priority be containing the spread of the virus — even if it hurts the economy — rather than restarting the economy even if it increases the risk to public health.

“Majorities of every demographic, except Republicans, think that we haven’t seen the worst of the pandemic, and majorities of every demographic want the government to concentrate on containing the virus even if the economy suffers,” Siena poll director Don Levy said. 

Siena also asked voters' view of racism in New York, a poll question related to the national protests and debates sparked by the death of George Floyd.

More than 80% said racism is either a very (47%) or somewhat (34%) serious problem in New York. Only 29% said they seldom or never are aware of racial or ethnic discrimination.

“New Yorkers agree: Systemic racism is a problem," Levy said. "Dramatic majorities of every demographic by party, age, race and region think systemic racism is at least a somewhat serious if not a very serious problem."

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