Americans’ fear of COVID-19 falls to lowest level since April 2020: why that’s not good news

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Fewer Americans now fear COVID-19 than at any time since the start of the pandemic, according to a new survey. Only 35% of American adults reported that they are very or somewhat concerned about contracting COVID-19, according to Gallup. It is the lowest level of concern since last April. In addition, almost 80% of Americans see that the COVID-19 situation is improving, which is the highest level since the start of the pandemic.

The Gallup poll was conducted in mid-March, but evidence has since emerged of an increase in the COVID-19 case count across the country. The United States has averaged nearly 65,000 cases a day over the past week, 20% more than two weeks earlier. Health officials say the surge in cases, which comes despite the rapid deployment of vaccines, is a reflection of the reopening of states and pandemic fatigue. So far, nearly 19% of the US population is fully vaccinated, and more than 32% of people have received at least one injection. President Biden said that 90% of adults in the country will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine by April 19, while emphasizing that states should pause their reopening plans until more Americans can receive their injections. He also reiterated the importance of wearing masks to fight the virus. “Americans have become substantially less concerned about contracting COVID-19 as a growing proportion of adults have been fully vaccinated and satisfaction with the vaccine launch has improved,” Gallup noted. The biggest decline in COVID-19 concerns was among Americans 65 and older, who were among the first to have access to coronavirus vaccines, but health officials say they and everyone who has been vaccinated they should still wear masks and practice social distancing in public places. Concern about contracting COVID-19 peaked in July, when nearly 60% of Americans reported fears of contracting the disease. That spike came amid a spike in cases that occurred as trade restrictions were lifted across much of the country. While the fear around COVID-19 spread to all segments of society, Gallup data indicated that concerns about COVID-19 still vary significantly across gender, racial and political lines. Nearly 2 in 5 women still report being concerned about contracting COVID-19, compared to less than a third of men. Half of the people who identify as Democrats reported the same, compared to 30% of independents and just 17% of Republicans. People of color were also more likely to say they were concerned about getting sick with the virus than white Americans.