In contrast, former President Donald Trump’s approval on handling the pandemic was higher than his disapproval only once, when it climbed to 55 percent in mid-March last year. The same poll in July through October last year saw that more than 60 percent disapproved of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus.
The poll further revealed that among Democrats and independents, Biden’s approval was sitting at 96 percent and 67 percent, respectively. However, among Republicans, the percentage fell to 33 percent.
The new president’s early days in office have largely focused on passing a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package that would provide aid to American families, workers, businesses, and local governments. Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers have put forth a slimmer counterproposal of $618 billion.
The new poll finds widespread support of nearly 90 percent for delivering additional aid to Americans, but the country is split over the approach. About half believe that Biden and Democrats should unilaterally pass the measure with only support from within the party, but 40 percent are okay with a smaller package that gets support from at least some Republicans.
Along party lines, only 24 percent of Republicans are behind the White House’s aid strategy and 53 percent prefer to have a more bipartisan approach in shaping the package.
Over the weekend, Biden suggested that there is still a long road ahead in defeating the virus that has killed more than four hundred sixty-three thousand Americans over the past year, according to Johns Hopkins University.
“The idea that this can be done and we can get to herd immunity much before the end of this summer is very difficult,” Biden said in an interview broadcast on CBS on Sunday before the Super Bowl.
His cautious remarks are consistent with the warnings from medical experts and public health officials. White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci has asserted in the past that at least 75 percent of the general public must be inoculated against the coronavirus to achieve herd immunity—which aims to have enough people within a population become immune to a disease, often through vaccination or natural infection, to make its spread unlikely. As a result, the entire community is protected, even those who are not themselves immune, according to Harvard Medical School.
Despite the painfully slow vaccination rollout, the Biden administration has already set an ambitious goal of inoculating a hundred million Americans in his first hundred days in office.
Biden also seemed to support a proposal from the National Football League to use its thirty stadiums across the country as mass vaccination centers.
“I’m telling my team they are available, and I believe we’ll use them,” he said.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.