Almost 80% of Americans now believe that Covid-19 will not be eliminated within their lifetime, and many people are taking fewer precautions, adjusting to the "new normal" of the pandemic, according to a recent poll from Axios and Ipsos.
How Americans currently feel about Covid-19
For the poll, Axios and Ipsos surveyed 1,155 U.S. adults ages 18 and older between July 15 and 18.
Almost half of respondents said they have had or suspected they have had Covid-19 at some point since the pandemic began. Among respondents who are vaccinated and have had Covid-19, 61% said their most recent infection occurred after they were fully vaccinated.
In addition, more than 25% of respondents who have had Covid-19 said they had been infected by the coronavirus more than once. Among all respondents, 33% said they know someone who has been reinfected in the last few weeks.
However, despite growing numbers of new cases and reinfections, the total number of Americans who are at least somewhat concerned about Covid-19 has remained relatively stable at around 61% since April 2021.
Currently, Americans' primary concern about Covid-19 is potentially transmitting the coronavirus to people who have a higher risk of severe illness. Other concerns include developing long Covid (17%), being hospitalized with severe Covid-19 (15%), restrictions on their daily lives (15%), dying from Covid-19 (13%), and reinfection (8%).
Overall, almost 80% of Americans agreed with the statement, "We will never fully be rid of the coronavirus in my lifetime." This consensus was seen across political affiliations, with majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents agreeing.
Meanwhile, 29% of respondents said they believe the pandemic is over, suggesting that some people believe the virus will not go away but also consider pandemic conditions to be over, The Hill reports.
This sentiment varies significantly by political affiliation, with 48% of Republicans saying the pandemic is over, compared to just 9% of Democrats.
Regarding precautionary measures, 36% of Americans sometimes or always wear a mask when outside of their homes—the lowest figure since the beginning of the pandemic. Similarly, 36% say they never wear a mask outside of their homes, an increase of 14 percentage points from the same time last year.
Many respondents said they are largely living their lives as normal, with 62% going out to eat in the past week and 67% visiting friends or relatives. In comparison, only 20% said they cancelled or skipped large gatherings, a significant decrease from the 47% who said the same in late February.
According to Cliff Young, president of Ipsos U.S. Public Affairs, the economy and inflation has largely taken over as the primary concerns for most Americans. "People are focused on making ends meet," he said. "The virus has become a part of day-to-day life, it's just a given." (Bettelheim, Axios, 7/19; Choi, The Hill, 7/19; Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index poll, 7/19)