Do Americans Care About The Latest COVID-19 Wave In The Northeast?

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A new wave of COVID-19 cases swept through the US Capitol last weekaffects a number of officials the highest levels of government as has the administration of President Biden calls for a return to normality.

But not only Capitol Hill is experiencing a new round of COVID-19 infections. That highly contagious omicron BA.2 subvariant has led to one Increase in new cases in the Northeast. The New York Times tracker shows these cases for New York City increased by over 60 percentWith Cases increase by over 140 percent in Washington, DC, during the same period. But according to recent polls, a majority of Americans are still poised to put the pandemic behind them.

No later than Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index, the number of Americans participating in activities outside of their homes is increasing. From April 8-11, 65 percent of respondents said they had recently dined out, while another 66 percent said they had been there with friends or family. That’s a sharp increase from January, the poll found, when just 46 percent and 50 percent of Americans, respectively, said the same thing.

In addition, fewer and fewer people are in favor of precautionary measures to prevent the virus from spreading. The survey found that just 36 percent of respondents wanted companies to require customers to show they had been vaccinated — down 15 percentage points from February, when the question was first asked. Part of this changing attitude may be because Americans are increasingly saying the worst of the pandemic is behind us: a separate one Economist/YouGov Poll found that at the end of March, just 11 percent of those polled believed the pandemic was getting worse, compared with 31 percent who felt the same way in early January.

There’s still a lot we don’t know about it, but at this point Americans don’t seem as concerned about it as they were about the delta wave that rocked the nation last summer or last fall and winter omicron wave. In mid-September, as cases surged nationwide, a Morning Consult tracking survey found that a third (33 percent) of adults viewed COVID-19 as a “serious” health risk to their community. Earlier this week, that number was just 15 percent.

Support for preventive measures such as vaccination requirements, particularly in the workplace, has also declined. According to a March survey by Pew Research Center, just 29 percent of US adults said employers should require employees to get vaccinated. A majority of respondents (44 percent) said vaccines should be promoted instead. Last July and August, per GallupSupport for these measures was much larger, with 52 percent of US adults saying they were in favor of worker immunization requirements versus 38 percent saying they were against.

In a way, the fact that fewer Americans are worried about contracting COVID-19 shouldn’t be to surprised. As FiveThirtyEight’s Jean Yi noted in February, Americans seem increasingly to accept the fact that COVID-19 could be here forever. And while there’s still a lot we don’t know about BA.2, it’s also possible that this subvariant just won’t be as deadly like previous waves, and that’s why Americans just think differently about the virus.

Pandemic fatigue could be an additional factor. As the chart below shows, American attitudes towards COVID-19 did not change significantly from March to April, according to the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index. In both months, 30 percent of respondents said they support a return to “life as usual” with no COVID-19 mandates or requirements. But that’s very different from just a few months earlier when respondents were looking at the virus: in early February, less than a quarter of respondents (21 percent) said the same thing. The American perception of mask requirements has also changed drastically since then. About two months ago, in the same poll, 21 percent of adults said we should increase Mask requirements and vaccination precautions, compared to just 6 percent who thought the same way in April.

Though polls suggest Americans may be taking a more lax stance on the pandemic, global health experts continue to warn COVID-19 is far from gone. In fact, it’s possible that the nation could see another surge in infections caused by BA.2 in the coming weeks. However, whether this will change people’s attitudes towards COVID-19 precautions seems to remain an open question.

Other polling bites

  • Americans are feeling the economic impact of higher gas prices and changing their behavior in response. That’s what half of Americans say The increased prices had led to a certain financial distress, according to an April 8-9 ABC News/Ipsos poll. That’s according to a March 17-20 Morning Consult poll 31 percent of adults bought less gasoline in March than in the previous month. When Morning Consult asked in a March 18-21 survey whether they had used other modes of transportation, 44 percent said they walked, 18 percent used a bicycle, 15 percent used public transportation, and 7 percent used an electric bike or scooter. Still, a majority of Americans (47 percent) told Morning Consult they support sanctions on Russian oil and natural gas exports, even if it results in higher prices, according to a poll conducted April 2-4.
  • The state of the economy is clearly a priority for most Americans 76 percent said the economy should be a high priority for the country in an April 5-8 poll by CBS News/YouGov. 73 percent said the same about inflation, far outweighing concerns about the other questions asked about. Other high-priority issues were crime (59 percent) and the “state” between Russia and Ukraine (58 percent), but all other issues asked about, immigration, climate change and COVID-19, were under 50 percent. But Americans don’t feel bad on the economic front. They had better prospects for job availability — 56 percent said their local job market was good, and 51 percent said the number of jobs in the US as a whole had increased over the past year.
  • Corresponding a YouGov poll April 5-8, American adults are divided on the provisions of Florida’s parenting rights law, which some critics have dubbed “don’t say gay” because it would restrict discussions of gender and sexual orientation from kindergarten through the third grade classrooms . 44 percent said they support a ban on public school teachers teaching students in kindergarten through third grade sexual orientation and gender identity, while 41 percent opposed it. Meanwhile, 47 percent said they supported allowing parents to sue school districts if they felt instruction on these subjects was not age-appropriate by state standards, while 38 percent opposed.
  • When it comes to social media companies and users under the age of 18, many Americans think more safeguards should be in place, according to two April 13 YouGov polls. Sixty percent of respondents felt that social media companies shouldn’t be allowed recommending content to underage users, and 72 percent didn’t want these companies Collecting data about these users. In a third survey, 47 percent even stated that people under the age of 18 should not be able to even create their own social media accounts.
  • According to a, there is currently broad support for a range of climate change policy proposals that would limit greenhouse gas emissions Gallup poll March 1-18. Large majorities support all six polled proposals – 61 percent support tax credits for electric vehicle buyers, 62 percent support stricter limits on methane emissions from the production of natural gas, 71 percent support higher fuel efficiency standards for vehicles, 75 percent support tax incentives for companies using renewable energy, and 89 percent support providing tax credits to individuals who install renewable energy systems, such as solar panels, in their homes. Even the least popular proposal asked about increasing federal funding for electric vehicle charging stations was endorsed by 59 percent of respondents.

Biden approval

According to FiveThirtyEight’s presidential approval tracker, 41.5 percent of Americans approve of the work Biden is doing as president, while 52.2 percent oppose it (a net approval rating of -10.7 points). At this time last week, 41.7 percent agreed and 52.6 percent disagreed (a net agree of -11.0 points). A month ago, Biden had an approval rating of 42.9 percent and a disapproval rating of 51.9 percent, for a net approval rating of -9.1 points.

General ballot

In our average of polls for the general congressional vote, Republicans currently lead by 2.2 percentage points (44.7 percent vs. 42.9 percent). A week ago, Republicans led Democrats by 2.2 points (44.7 percent to 42.5 percent). At this point last month, voters preferred Republicans by 2.2 points (44.8 percent to 42.6 percent).

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