Health Care

Poll finds majority believes worst over from pandemic

A new poll shows growing optimism over a possible end to the coronavirus pandemic over a year after it was first declared.

The survey from Navigator Research found that a majority of registered voters questioned said that they believe the worst is over, the first time more than 50 percent of respondents have reached that conclusion since the beginning of the outbreak. 

Fifty-four percent of respondents said “the worst is over,” while 23 percent who said “the worst is yet to come.” Another 23 percent did not have an opinion. 

The poll shows steadily growing optimism since early January, when just 25 percent of respondents said the worst was over. That percentage grew to 30 percent in early February and 46 percent earlier this month.

Fifty percent of respondents said the worst was yet to come as recently as Feb. 1. 

The increase in optimism is shared across party lines. Over the past two months, the share of Democrats who said the worst is over has jumped from 15 percent to 50 percent, while the percentage of independents with the same opinion has increased from 22 percent to 45 percent. Thirty-six percent of Republicans, the most optimistic group, said two months ago that the worst was over, while 60 percent said they believe that now.

Moreover, more Americans than at any point in the past year — 43 percent — say the country is “headed in the right direction.” Still, 48 percent say the country is “off on the wrong track.”

The poll comes as ramped-up vaccine distribution provides a light at the end of a more than yearlong tunnel. More than 113 million vaccine doses have been administered, and President Biden has ordered states to lift their eligibility requirements for the inoculations by May 1.

Eighty-two percent of respondents in the new poll said they know someone who had been vaccinated, and 27 percent say they themselves have received a shot.

However, experts have warned that pandemic fatigue or increased optimism is not an excuse for Americans to shirk public health guidance such as mask wearing and social distancing. 

Overall, 63 percent of respondents agreed with the statement that we “are so close to having a vaccine widely distributed and the worst of the pandemic being over. We shouldn’t put our guards down now and should continue wearing masks and socially distancing.” On the other hand, 27 percent said we “have been suffering from the pandemic for over a year now. The pandemic is finally under control and we deserve to start getting our freedom back and fully reopening our economy.”

The Navigator Research poll surveyed 1,001 registered voters March 11-15. The results have a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points. 

Tags COVID-19 pandemic Health Joe Biden

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