The PRT asked our readers to respond to a survey about their feelings about the coronavirus pandemic. 130 people responded, 62 people from Patagonia, 45 from Sonoita/Elgin, eight from Nogales, seven from Tucson and eight from other areas. More than three times as many women responded to the survey as men.

A large majority of the respondents (111) reported that the coronavirus outbreak had affected their emotional wellbeing and mental health, with six of the respondents reporting that they were extremely affected. One respondent wrote “I disapprove of the federal government not acting sooner when we had more time to flatten the curve. I am appalled at the lack of testing. I am appalled at the dismantling of the pandemic task force. I am appalled at the lack of supplies for medical professionals.”

77% of Patagonia respondents and 67% of Elgin/Sonoita respondents indicated that their individual behavior had changed due to the virus’ economic and health risks, with only six people saying they have not changed their behaviors at all. One person suggested that people who continue to gather face to face in large groups should be arrested, while another wrote “I disapprove of ALL of the State, City and County shut-downs. It’s unconstitutional and will ruin lives of the working people who will NEVER recover – with or without government hand-outs.” Another respondent said “Don’t start canceling everything months away. Take one day at a time,” a contrasting opinion to another comment that read,“There is no measure too drastic or taken too soon.”

Financial health, over the next six months, was somewhat or very concerning to 60% of Patagonia respondents, but only 40% of Elgin/Sonoita responders were concerned. 91% expected their finances to worsen over the next six months. Six people have already lost their jobs and 23.8% have already been told to work from home. 

125 people are protecting themselves by washing their hands and using sanitizer, 122 people are practicing social distance, 53 have canceled or postponed medical appointments, and 43 are praying and 37 people are stockpiling food and water. Five people responded that they are doing nothing to protect themselves. Responses included “stay at home, and do not panic buy. To panic means you’re scared. With time, things will heal, and we will keep moving forward.”

When asked “What do you think your chances of catching the coronavirus in the next three months are,” 66% felt their chances were high of contracting the virus. Six people were 100% certain that they would become ill. 61.5% felt, if infected, they had minimal chances of dying. Four people were certain that they would die.

Only 38.5% of respondents supported all actions being taken on the state and federal levels to combat the outbreak. 55% of respondents supported some of these actions. One person wrote, “Top officials when giving press conferences do not model precaution. Santa Cruz County currently is not making recommendations on how to mitigate the spread. The county health department is not in the loop on all possible cases in the county…Our local reps – supervisors and state reps LD 2, and congressman are not in front of this to protect their constituents. They have been invisible. The only local entities that inform the public in real time are the PRT and Nogales International.” 

Several respondents disapproved of the job that President Trump and his administration have been doing. “I am ashamed by the lack of professionalism and leadership shown by this administration, the lack of answers, and the tardiness of having a plan in place,” one person wrote. Another wrote that the “President is untrustworthy, federal gov’t behind the curve. In general, states seem more proactive and capable.” In contrast, a respondent wrote that we should “let the President do his best under the circumstances. The hatred needs to stop somewhere, and the health of our nation should be top priority. The media needs to focus on the true facts and not Trump’s blunders.”

Both Patagonia and Sonoita/Elgin agreed that the CDC and WHO were the most trusted agencies to protect Americans from a major outbreak of the coronavirus, but Patagonia responses leaned more towards trusting state health agencies. The Elgin/Sonoita communities leaned more towards President Trump and his advisors. 

When asked which two sources respondents trust the most for accurate information, 83.8% trusted the CDC, next highest was state government at 21.5%. Network news (15.4%) county or local government (13.1%), and “none of the above” finished higher than the federal government (10.8%), the internet (9.2%), cable news (7.7%), and social media (1.5%). 

Both communities agreed that the PRT can best support the community by keeping the respondents informed and updated with frequent, accurate information on closings, programs, contagion spread, etc.