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February 3, 2022

Charted: America's divide on 'moving on' from Covid-19

Daily Briefing

    A majority of Americans believe it's time to accept Covid-19 as a normal part of life, according to a new poll from Monmouth University—but the sentiment is largely divided along partisan lines.

    Prepare and adapt your Covid-19 communication strategy with external and internal stakeholders

    How Americans feel about the state of the pandemic

    For the poll, Monmouth University surveyed 794 U.S. adults by telephone between Jan. 20 and 24.

    When asked if they agree with the sentiment that "it's time we accept that Covid is here to stay and we just need to get on with our lives," 70% of respondents said they agreed. However, there was a clear partisan split regarding this sentiment, with 89% of Republicans and 71% of independents saying that it's time to move on, compared with 47% of Democrats.

    The poll also found that 15% of respondents believe the United States will get the coronavirus under control and return to normal before the end of the year. On the other hand, 28% of respondents said they believe a return to normalcy will never happen—a significant jump from the 6% who said the same in January 2021.

    Regarding preventive measures against the coronavirus, 52% of respondents said they support "instituting, or re-instituting, face mask and social distancing guidelines in their home state," a slight decrease from the 55% who said the same in December 2021.

    In comparison, fewer respondents (43%) supported requiring people to show proof of vaccination to work in an office or another setting where they are around other people. Support for proof of vaccination requirements have declined steadily since September when 53% of respondents were in favor.

    Comments

    According to Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, the poll's findings represent a shift in attitude toward the pandemic. "Americans' worries about Covid haven't gone away," he said. "It seems more to be a realization that we are not going to get this virus under control in a way that we thought was possible just last year."

    Recently, as Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations drop nationwide, some government officials and health experts have said the pandemic is starting to move towards an endemic phase.

    "We're not going to manage [the coronavirus] to zero," said New Jersey Gov. Philip Murphy (D). "We have to learn how to live with this."

    Similarly, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) said the United States needs to start treating the coronavirus as endemic, while paying close attention to emerging variants. "I do believe that we need to move from a pandemic status and mode of operation to more endemic," he said. "I think we need to move out of the panic mode. I think we need to handle this and make sure that we continue with our normal lives." 

    Meanwhile, former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said he believes Covid-19 case rates are "going to continue to come down as we get into the spring and the summer," and the United States should start thinking about removing some restrictions in place.

    Gottlieb added that he believes people will resume normal lives "hopefully this spring," adding that "we don't see anything on the horizon that's going to dramatically alter that trajectory."

    However, Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that current numbers don't indicate the United States has "sufficient control" of the virus. He added that the United States needs to reach a point where it doesn't "dominate" our lives. "That is not where we are at this point. So we still have a way to go," he said. (Monmouth University poll, 1/31; Beals, The Hill, 1/31)

    Your omicron communication strategy

    Prepare and adapt your Covid-19 communication strategy with external and internal stakeholders

    communication

    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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