NATIONAL -- The coronavirus (COVID-19) has overshadowed even the presidential primaries. There have been over 4,200 cases of the virus in the U.S., which includes people in all 50 states and D.C. President Donald Trump has signed a $8.3 billion spending package to fight the spread of the virus, and has issued a 30-day travel ban on people coming from many European countries. In New Jersey, bars, restaurants and other entertainment venues have been closed, businesses are struggling, and people are asked to stay home after 8:00 p.m. to help stem the spread of the disease. 

Despite government efforts, coronavirus has taken a toll on the economy. The stock market has taken a huge hit. In addition, 67 million Americans think they will have trouble paying their credit card bills, according to a new national study by WalletHub. The survey gauged how coronavirus has affected Americans’ lives and spending habits.

Key Stats

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  • Coronavirus is a huge source of stress. In fact, it is now the top stressor in America, above money problems and the 2020 election.
  • Many Americans have decided to start saving. 158 million people report that they are saving more money during coronavirus, rather than spending more.
  • Women and men’s spending has changed differently. The top category females have spent less on due to coronavirus is travel. For males, it's entertainment events, such as concerts, sports and movies.
  • Travel has greatly declined. 94 million Americans have canceled or plan on canceling travel plans due to the coronavirus.
  • Touching cash is scary. More than 6 in 10 people believe it is possible to contract the coronavirus from money.

Should credit card companies forgive late payments during the coronavirus pandemic?
“Yes, credit card companies should give relief to affected customers, just like they’ve done during major natural disasters in recent years,” said WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou. “Roughly 67 million Americans anticipate having trouble paying their credit card bills because of the coronavirus. Their struggles could easily ripple through the economy if left unaddressed, especially considering the more than $1 trillion in credit card debt currently owed by U.S. consumers.”

How are consumers reacting to the coronavirus financially?
“We’ve seen a lot of panic buying as a result of the coronavirus, with people purchasing things like toilet paper en masse, largely because they don’t know what else to do. Furthermore, 94 million Americans have canceled or plan to cancel travel plans due to the coronavirus,” said WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez. “Less apparent, however, is the panic saving that people are engaged in right now. Around 158 million Americans, or roughly 63% of adults, say they are saving more, as opposed to buying more, as a result of this crisis. If there’s a bright side to all of this, people saving more money than usual might just be it.” 

How are consumers feeling emotionally?
“The coronavirus is now the top stressor in America, above money problems and the 2020 election,” said WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez. “This is significant because money problems have for years been our top stressor, according to the American Psychological Association, with politics creeping up the list lately. It just goes to show how quickly the pandemic has come to dominate the public consciousness, not just in the U.S. but around the world.”

This report reflects the results of a nationally representative online survey of over 500 people.