Notes on Coronavirus: How is America Feeling? Part 2

How is America feeling? Not awesome. Wave one was intense anxiety. It continues. But now we’re seeing the start of wave two—the impact of the quarantines themselves. (Five new insights, below.)

But first, a declaration of strength: we’re leaning all the way in. American is pain. We’re outperforming our KPIs with our best wait times and satisfaction ratings in 3+ years. (It’s bananas. Our team is lit!) And while 12 hotlines have already had to shut down due to understaffing, we were always built as a distributed network (at home) model. So, today we announced a commitment to 2x growth by April 30th. We’re hiring 33 more people and recruiting 5k new volunteers. We got this. Send people our way:


5 new insights from the data…

1.  Continued wave one: anxiety about symptoms and the virus. 

Anxiety is the top issue we are seeing right now. 78% of texters are experiencing anxiety.

Symptom, fever, and cough are now in the top 10 words nationally used by texters.

Asthma and allergies are in the top 20 words. Texters are confused about whether they are experiencing asthma/allergies or may have COVID. (Example: “I have allergies and am scared because my symptoms are similar to some of the covid19 pandemic.”) More clear and simple triage systems are needed, America.

Some things to counteract the anxiety? “Schedule” and “routine” are trending, as well as “peaceful,” “staying occupied,” “hugging,” “dancing,” and “mom.”

2. Financial anxiety growing, especially among low-income people.

COVID is impacting people of all socioeconomic statuses, but around half of texters in crisis reaching out are from low-income households: Furloughed, landlord, and laid off are trending. Last week, 50% of our texters had a household income less than $35,000.

3. The quarantines themselves are creating pain.

“Quarantine,” “lockdown,” and “stuck” are trending words.

Normally, “house” is mentioned in ~6% of conversations; in the last week, it’s more than doubled to 14%. For conversations mentioning “house,” we’re seeing significantly higher rates than other conversations (~2x) of the following issues: Physical abuse, sexual abcrisisuse, substance abuse. (Ugh. We worried about this–now it is real.)

4. Who is America turning to for help? Friends, Pets, and Mom. 

  • Friend 54%

  • Pet 40%

  • Mom 36%

  • Sibling 21%

  • Dad 18%

  • Significant others 12%

  • Grandparent 06%

People are turning to moms (36%) at twice the rate of dads (18%). Way to go, moms! And dads, take this as an opportunity to step up??

The media has been focused on the critical role of connection to family and friends; what this data shows is the importance of pets! (Yes, we even have data on dogs vs cats and fav pet names. Ping me if you’re interested in that detail.)

5. Asian Americans are in pain—and rallying.

Normally ~5% of our texters identify as Asian American. Now thats over 10%. Mostly referencing bullying, harassment, depression related to the virus and the awful things being said about the origin of the virus from China. (Sidenote: I was made in Cleveland, but my name is Nancy.)

However, we’re also seeing something kind of beautiful. Looking at % of people applying to be our Crisis Counselors, four months ago: 11% identified as Asian. A month ago: 23%. In the last week: 27% of our volunteer applicants have identified as Asian. Heck yeah! Asian people are turning their pain into volunteering to help others.

In a crisis?

Text HOME to 741741 to connect with a volunteer Crisis Counselor

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