Three years after the World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic, Americans remain evenly split about whether the crisis has come to an end here at home, a new Gallup poll finds.
In a nationally representative survey of U.S. adults conducted Feb. 21-28 by web using the Gallup Panel, researchers found 51% of Americans are still not convinced the pandemic has passed, compared to 49% who say the crisis is over.
With most Americans now either vaccinated or having had the virus, researchers also found that many have now left social distancing and masks in their rear view mirrors.
Overall, 52% of Americans now report that they previously tested positive for COVID-19, and an additional 13% say they have not tested positive but think they have had it.
Gallup began conducting the surveys nearly two years ago at a time when many states were in the throes of lifting pandemic-related restrictions amid the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Back then, 29% of individuals indicated they thought the crisis was over, and since then that pool has only grown deeper, rising to 34% last spring and to 44% in October.
At the same time, one out of every four Americans still report they are very (3%) or somewhat (22%) worried they could catch the virus. While that number comes to just half of the 50% of individuals expressing such trepidations before January 2022, it is still well above the 17% recorded just six months prior.
Currently, 62% of respondents say they think the situation is getting better, opposed to just 8% that indicate they feel things are getting worse. Overall, just 15% of individuals now say they are completely or mostly isolating themselves, compared to a 51% majority who are not taking any precautions to avoid contracting COVID-19.
Over a recent seven-day period, 23% of individuals report they have avoided situations with large crowds, another 18% say they have avoided traveling by air or public transportation (bus, subway or train) and 14% insist they have avoided going to public places such as stores or restaurants.
With Democrats leading the way among those still taking precautionary steps aimed at avoiding exposure, researchers found roughly one in three, or 31% of Americans, now still use face masks for protection, significantly down from a one-time 2020 high of about 90%.