The vast majority of Americans think the pandemic will be over once Covid-19 becomes "a mild illness, like the seasonal flu," rather than eliminated, according to a recent AP-NORC poll. Meanwhile, a separate poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) found the partisan gap on how Americans feel about the pandemic is shrinking.
KFF's poll, which surveyed 1,536 Americans from Jan. 11 to Jan. 23, found that three-quarters of respondents said they are tired of the Covid-19 pandemic and nearly three-quarters said they're frustrated. Responses were fairly consistent across the political spectrum.
The poll also found that more than half of respondents said it's very or somewhat likely they will become infected with Covid-19 within the next year, including two-thirds of vaccinated respondents and just under half of unvaccinated respondents.
However, a partisan divide remains over what constitutes the country's biggest current problem, with 51% of Democrats labeling Covid-19 the biggest problem facing the United States right now, and 44% of Republicans claiming rising prices due to inflation are most problematic.
Meanwhile, in the AP-NORC poll, which surveyed 1,161 Americans from Jan. 13 to Jan. 18, 83% of respondents said they believe the pandemic will end once Covid-19 becomes similar to the seasonal flu, while just 15% said they believe the pandemic will end once Covid-19 is largely eliminated, like polio.
In order to fully participate in public life, over half of respondents said receiving a Covid-19 vaccine is essential and just under half said the same about receiving a Covid-19 booster shot. However, getting children vaccinated was viewed as less necessary for a return to normalcy, as just 37% of responding parents said having children vaccinated against Covid-19 was essential.
Meanwhile, KFF's poll found that many Americans have had difficulty finding Covid-19 tests, especially at-home tests. Nearly two-thirds of respondents said finding an at-home test was very or somewhat difficult. Just over a third said the same for finding an in-person Covid-19 test.
Despite these difficulties, 81% of respondents said they are very or somewhat confident that they would have access to a Covid-19 test if they needed one. (Hamel et al., KFF Covid-19 Vaccine Monitor: January 2022, 1/28; AP-NORC poll, 1/27; Sullivan, The Hill, 1/28; Scully, The Hill, 1/27; Brumback et al., Associated Press, 1/27)
As omicron continues to surge throughout the country, constantly evolving information and regulatory guidance has made the already challenging task of communicating with stakeholders more difficult. As a result, health care leaders must clearly and efficiently communicate changing guidance and information about the state of the pandemic, rising case numbers, vaccine and booster availability, emerging treatments, internal policies, and more, with community members, patients, and staff.
Use this resource with internal and external stakeholders to audit your omicron communication strategy and prepare your strategy moving forward.
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