Americans’ sense of optimism about the COVID-19 pandemic dropped significantly over the course of last month, with less than half saying that the situation is improving in the latest poll from Gallup.
"The current survey marks the first time since January that more U.S. adults have been pessimistic than optimistic about the COVID-19 situation," writes Gallup senior editor Jeffrey M. Jones. "There was greater pessimism than optimism for most of 2020."
- 45% said the COVID-19 situation is getting a little or a lot better.
- 40% said the situation is getting a little or a lot worse.
- 14% said the situation is staying the same.
- 89% said the situation was getting better.
- 3% said the situation was getting worse.
- 8% said the situation was staying the same.
Gallup also found that "Americans now expect societal disruptions related to COVID-19 to persist at least through the end of the year, or longer. Whereas in June, nearly half of Americans expected COVID-related disruptions in society to last only a few more weeks or months, now just 17% believe they will end by then."
- 42% think the disruptions related to Covid-19 will last beyond the rest of the year.
- 41% think the disruptions will cease by the end of the year.
- 12% think the disruptions will only last for the next few months.
- 5% think the disruptions will end in a few weeks.
Last month, Americans’ worry about contracting COVID-19 also increased, from 17% in June to 29% in July. Jones notes that "Concern about getting the coronavirus is higher than a month ago among both those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and those who have not, but the increase is much larger among the vaccinated population. Thirty-three percent of vaccinated Americans are worried about getting the coronavirus, up from 18% in June. Meanwhile, 20% of unvaccinated Americans are worried, compared with 15% last month."
Despite the increased concern, Gallup found "little evidence" that this was leading people to alter their behavior in order to avoid getting sick. Most people who responded to the poll said that they are not isolating or avoiding public places, virtually unchanged from last month.
Jones concludes that "Americans are not yet ready to return to strict social distancing or to recommend that the country shut down. But along with their increased pessimism about the state of the pandemic, Americans foresee dealing with pandemic disruptions for far longer than they did just a month ago."
Gallup surveyed 3,475 adults across the country from July 19-26, 2021, with a margin of error of +/- 2 percentage points.
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