According to the January Gallup poll, 58% of respondents said they felt the pandemic was getting a little or a lot worse, while just 20% said they felt the pandemic was improving and 22% said they thought the situation has stayed the same.
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The level of pessimism surrounding the pandemic saw a sharp increase from when the poll was conducted in October when 18% said they felt it was getting worse and 51% said it was getting better. However, the rapid spread of the highly-transmissible omicron variant has caused many to feel a sense of hopelessness in the face of a third year in the pandemic.
Gallup observed a corresponding change in behaviors as people’s thoughts on the pandemic worsened. More people said they were practicing social distancing behaviors and fewer people said they were eating out at restaurants.
“When the COVID-19 vaccine was rolled out last year, there was great hope that the pandemic would have ended in the U.S. by now,” said Gallup. “But with COVID-19 cases in the U.S. skyrocketing due to the omicron variant of the virus, Americans’ views of the pandemic have once again turned negative, and worry about getting the virus is on the rise to levels not seen since vaccines were widely available.”
The Gallup poll was conducted among 1,569 adults from Jan. 3-14. The results have a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.