Census Day: What you need to know about the 2020 census

Posted at 6:49 AM, Apr 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-01 08:15:59-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — By now, households across the U.S. should have received an invitation in the mail to complete the 2020 census. April 1 is Census Day -- a day meant to remind people to fill out their census as soon as possible.

A census only happens every 10 years. It's used to find an accurate count on the population.

Information gathered from the 2020 census will determine how many representatives in state has in Congress. It also determines how much federal funding goes to each state for important things like schools and roads. For a state like Tennessee, that's seen a big jump in population, accurate information is critical.

This is the first time every household in the U.S. has an option to respond to the census online. Some concerns have been raised about the issue of cyber security on this, but census officials say the online questionnaires are secure.

Everyone who lives in the U.S. is required to respond regardless of if they’re a citizen or not. There is no question about citizenship on the census.

Lawmakers say they’ve been worried about the coronavirus and the timing of the census, but census officials say they’ll adapt their operations as necessary to ensure a proper count. They’re asking people respond as soon as possible.

It’s required by law to fill out the census. If residents don't complete it, they could be fined. So far, Tennessee is on par with the rest of the U.S. for how many people have completed a census with 36.6% responding.


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What is COVID-19 (a.k.a. the new coronavirus?)

According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Examples include the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV)and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. COVID-19 stands for "Coronavirus disease 2019," which is when this strain of the coronavirus was discovered.

What are the symptoms?

The CDC says patients confirmed to have the 2019-nCoV reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

At this time, the CDC believes symptoms could appear as soon as two days after exposure, or as long as 14 days.


The CDC is recommending "common sense" measures such as:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.