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Poll Shows Americans Starting to Reemerge as COVID-19 Vaccination Efforts Advance

  • Axios-Ipsos poll in early March finds that 30 percent of respondents have resumed socializing with friends and family outside their household
  • Twenty-one percent expect return to normalcy within the next six months, while 36 percent anticipate it within the next year
  • Most respondents expect to continue following COVID-19 safety protocols even after they’re vaccinated

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

More Americans are seeing an end in sight after nearly a year of enduring the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an Axios-Ipsos poll. However, few respondents said they plan to stop following safety protocols brought on by the pandemic until there is a clearer indication that the pandemic is over.

The poll was issued between March 5 and 8 and collected 1,001 responses. The results come approximately one year after COVID-19 became a widespread concern in the United States. The World Health Organization declared the virus a pandemic on March 11, 2020, and President Donald Trump declared a national emergency due to the pandemic two days later.

Twenty-one percent of respondents said they expect their lives to return to pre-pandemic normalcy within the next six months, up six points from a similar February poll. Thirty-six percent said they expect a return to normalcy within a year, equal to the share in the February poll.

Thirty percent said the have resumed seeing friends and family outside their immediate household, but the remaining respondents were planning to wait longer. Twenty percent said they would not return to these interactions until everyone in their social group is vaccinated, and another 20 percent didn’t know when they would resume these activities. Eleven percent were awaiting guidance from national officials, 10 percent were waiting for local officials to green-light such activities, and 9 percent said they would resume these interactions after getting vaccinated.

Few people planned to give up COVID-19 precautions after getting vaccinated. Eighty-one percent said they would continue wearing masks, while just 7 percent said they would stop. Sixty-six percent planned to continue social distancing, with only 13 percent planning to stop doing so after receiving a vaccine.

The CDC recently issued guidance advising that vaccinated individuals can meet without masks in small groups under certain circumstances, but said these people should still wear a mask and observe other safety protocols when in public. The CDC has also been critical of some states’ decisions to lift mask mandates and other precautions.

Thirty-six percent said they have found it beneficial to spend more time at home during the pandemic, with one-third saying they’ve saved more money. Twenty-four percent said they had found it beneficial to spend more time with their family, with 21 percent enjoying the slower pace in their daily lives.

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