There are lessons in this unusual public consensus.
First, despite predictions about the “death of expertise” in American life, people are heeding the experts on the coronavirus. Faced with a choice between Trump’s Pollyannaish declarations of victory and Anthony Fauci’s measured realism, which often stands in direct contradiction to the president, Americans are following Fauci and his colleagues. That doesn’t mean that expertise is back in vogue; it may mean only that Americans are willing to hear experts out when they’re terrified and disoriented. But for the time being, they are deferring to their knowledge.
Second, the polls should serve as a warning to governors and a rebuke to the press. The protests in state capitols have gained extensive attention, but—despite the vocal support of the president—the activists remain part of a fringe movement. Many were already protesting regularly, and although they have latched on to a new cause, they have not really gained new followers. Most Americans simply aren’t clamoring for immediate reopening (as much as they might yearn for a time when it feels safe to do so). That means the political downside of maintaining restrictions is low—while the risk of death from loosening them is very real (and carries its own political ramifications).
Finally, even if restrictions are loosened, it’s unclear that this would have the positive economic effect that Trump hopes for.