Nearly two years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, a large majority of Americans surveyed in a new poll said they agree that it’s time to accept that the virus “is here to stay and we just need to get on with our lives” — though the results reflected a sharp partisan divide.
Seventy percent of people surveyed in the University of Monmouth poll released Monday said it’s time to accept the virus is part of life, though Republicans and Democrats differed starkly in their response. Eighty-nine percent of respondents who identified as Republicans agreed with the statement, while 47 percent of those who identified as Democrats agreed.
Here’s a look at other attitudes about the pandemic the poll revealed, including opinions on masking and social distancing policies and COVID-19 vaccines.
Masking and social distancing measures
The poll also found that more than half of those surveyed support instituting or reinstituting face mask and social distancing measures in the state they live in. Fifty-two percent said they would support the measures while 45 percent said they would oppose them.
The poll also found that a majority of those surveyed opposed proof-of-vaccination requirements for working in offices or other places where other people are around.
Fifty-three percent opposed such requirements while 43 percent supported them, the poll found, marking a slight change in attitude since a September 2021 poll found that 53 percent of those surveyed supported vaccine requirements and 45 percent opposed them.
Republican and Democratic respondents differed in their views on requiring proof of vaccination, the poll found. Seventy-seven percent of those who identified as Democrats said they support proof-of-vaccination requirements, while 20 percent of Republican respondents said they support them. Seventy-eight percent of Republicans oppose the measures while 17 percent of Democrats oppose them, the poll found.
Attitudes toward COVID vaccines
Months after the widespread availability of vaccines and as booster shots have steadily expanded to more age groups, the poll underscored the opposition to the shots that still remains.
While 77 percent of those polled said they had received at least one shot of a COVID vaccine, 17 percent said they likely would never get a shot.
In what could be a reflection of the lagging US booster rates, 45 percent of respondents said they had already received a booster shot, while 20 percent said they would likely never get one.
When COVID will be ‘under control’ in the US
Those surveyed had less-than-optimistic views of when the United States will get the COVID outbreak “under control” and “be able to return to normal.”
Thirty-four percent of those surveyed said they think the US will return to normal before the end of the year, while 32 percent of those surveyed said they think it will be later than that. Twenty-eight percent said it will never be under control.
The poll was conducted from Jan. 20 to 24 from a random sample of 794 adults in the US who were reached by phone. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
The poll comes as public health officials are increasingly discussing when the pandemic might transition to an endemic phase.
Earlier this month, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said it is not yet clear whether the Omicron variant will lead to an end of the pandemic.
“It is an open question as to whether or not Omicron is going to be the live virus vaccination that everyone is hoping for, because you have such a great deal of variability with new variants emerging,” Fauci said during a Jan. 17 panel at the World Economic Forum’s Davos Agenda online conference.
“I would hope that that’s the case. But that would only be the case if we don’t get another variant that eludes the immune response of the prior variant,” Fauci said.