Fewer Americans now fear catching COVID-19 than at any point since the start of the pandemic, according to a new survey.
Only 35% of U.S. adults reported they are very or somewhat worried about contracting COVID-19, according to Gallup. It’s the lowest level of concern since last April. Additionally, nearly 80% of Americans see the COVID-19 situation as improving, which is the highest level since the start of the pandemic.
Gallup’s survey was conducted in mid-March, but since then evidence has emerged of rising COVID-19 case counts across the country.
The U.S. has averaged nearly 65,000 cases a day for the past week, up 20% from two weeks earlier. Health officials say the rise in cases, which comes in spite of the fast roll-out of vaccinations, is a reflection of states reopening and pandemic fatigue.
So far, nearly 19% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, and over 32% of people have had at least one injection. President Biden said 90% of adults in the country will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine by April 19, while he emphasized that states should pause their reopening plans until more Americans can get their jabs. He also reiterated the importance of wearing face masks to combat the virus.
“Americans have become substantially less worried about contracting COVID-19 as a growing proportion of adults have been fully vaccinated and as satisfaction with the vaccine rollout has improved,” Gallup noted.
The largest decrease in worries about COVID-19 occurred among Americans ages 65 and older, who were among the first to have access to the vaccines against the coronavirus, but health officials say they and all of those who have been vaccinated should still wear masks and practice social distancing in public places.
Concern around contracting COVID-19 hit a high in July, when nearly 60% of Americans reported fears about catching the illness. That peak came amid a surge in cases that occurred as business restrictions were lifted across much of the country.
While the fear surrounding COVID-19 fell across the board for all segments of society, Gallup’s data indicated that concerns around COVID-19 still vary significantly across gender, racial and political lines. Nearly 2 in 5 women still report being worried about contracting COVID-19, as opposed to less than a third of men.
Half of the people who identify as Democrats reported the same, as opposed to 30% of independents and just 17% of Republicans. People of color were also more likely to say they are concerned about falling ill with the virus than white Americans.