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What Is America's COVID Mindset? New Poll Points to New Outlook, But Will It Last?

March 02, 2022

Americans' concern about COVID-19 is fading almost as fast the Omicron variant. It's probably no coincidence. A new Associated Press-NORC poll finds only 24 percent of American adults extremely or very worried about themselves or a family member getting infected with COVID-19, a drop from 36 percent in December and January. The latest nationwide poll of 1,289 adults based on online and telephone interviews was conducted Feb. 18-21. Given COVID's unpredictability, is this burst of confidence also backed by science? "If you're asking me for a prediction, absent of any new variants, I do believe that we're probably going to be OK until the late summer," says Dr. Ulysses Wu, Hartford HealthCare’s System Director of Infection Disease and Chief Epidemiologist. "The reason I say late summer is that variants tend to arise in areas of low vaccination and high transmission. So we would think about that in the Southern Hemisphere. We saw that last year with Delta and South Africa. So there is a possibility." Here are the results of three poll questions, courtesy of the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research:

How Worried Are You About Getting Infected?

Concern now is at its lowest since last summer's pre-Omicron lull in the pandemic: APpollCovidConcerns

How Concerned Are You About the Spread of Infectious Disease as a Direct Threat to the United States?

Concern is now at its lowest since pre-pandemic levels: NewsAPpollCovidThreat

Are You For Or Against Face Masks in Public Spaces?

Although this poll preceded the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's change in transmission metrics, which recast the national map with about 70 percent of the population now in areas where masking is no longer recommended, 50 percent of adults still favored masks in public spaces: NewsAPpollMasks