In the fifth week of the Ad Council’s study on worries and needs amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans report less financial impact, even as COVID-19 spreads.

From early April to early May, significantly more people reported knowing someone who has or has had a COVID-19 infection (24% in early April grew to 34% in early May).

Throughout the study, financial stress proved one of the factors most strongly correlated with emotional well-being. And while 4 in 5 Americans still say they’ve felt a financial impact, fewer this week are saying they felt a “large impact” (23% decreased to 17%). Perhaps things have not been quite as bad as people feared, and this is playing out in less worry, and more optimism, overall.


Americans continue to feel grateful most of all, and in May, positive emotions grew significantly.

Data from early May found statistically significant increases compared in early April in feelings of optimism, relaxation, contentment, and cheerfulness; meanwhile, feelings of anxiety and sadness decreased significantly in the US. Also, just over one-third (36%) report feelings of acceptance - along with boredom and frustration (both 35%).

People continue to be most grateful for the health of others (45%) and their own health (43%), followed more distantly by being able to quarantine or social distance themselves relatively easily (29%), gratitude for healthcare and other frontline workers (23%), and gratitude for their spiritual or religious practice/community (23%).

Those respondents who felt sad, anxious, lonely or other negative emotions reported on what they did to help cope: entertainment (64%), listening to music (62%) and talking to family or friends (61%) top the list of ways to feel better. Half report being helped by exercise (49%) and taking breaks from the news (47%).


Emotions are improving significantly for Americans

In the past week, how often have you felt any of the following? (Top 2 Box)


These positive feelings could be a result of Americans feeling less “in need.”

In May there were strong improvements in Americans’ immediate needs: respondents reported significantly lower levels of need around finances (employment, housing, bills, food-related), access to PPE, mental health support, and even peace of mind.

Some needs have remained the same: the need for entertainment, staying active and healthy, and educating children.


Americans are less likely to report needing immediate help with medical, financial, and emotional needs

Please consider your current needs that are specifically related to COVID-19. How much do you need assistance with each of the following? (Top 2 Box)