Four out of five Americans think coronavirus is forever

Four out of five Americans think coronavirus is forever
Four out of five Americans think coronavirus is forever

According to the latest survey conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 83% of Americans polled believe they’ll be “stuck with” the novel coronavirus “forever” or at least for a very long period of time.

Individual replies to the poll reflected a sense of resignation and learned helplessness.

The overwhelming majority of Americans surveyed responded along those lines, saying they will consider the pandemic “over” when the virus has mutated into a “mild illness.”

Only 15% of poll respondents believe the virus will ultimately be “eliminated like polio.” A growing number said they are more likely to wear masks and avoid crowds compared with last month. Respondents cited reports of increasing numbers of cases and hospitalizations to explain their newfound caution.

Paradoxically, vaccinated individuals are more likely to take precautions like masking and avoiding crowds, with 73% reporting they “frequently wear a mask around others.” Just 37% of the unvaccinated report frequently wearing masks. A growing number of US residents are also avoiding non-essential travel, with three out of five – a 7% increase from last month – reporting an aversion to the practice.

Some 65% of all Americans polled regardless of vaccination status report wearing face coverings around others, while 64% say they avoid large groups of people – both figures reflecting an increase from the 57% who said yes to both questions last month.

While initial scientific reports on the Omicron variant suggested it was precisely the “mild” – or at least milder – mutation Americans were waiting for, governments around the world quickly shifted the narrative to reflect a need for more mandates, more booster shots, and more controls, and overall fear levels have ratcheted up accordingly.

Nearly three in five (59%) Americans now reportedly believe vaccination is essential to participation in public activities, though only 37% hold the same belief regarding their children.


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