A Gallup poll released Friday indicated that a majority of Americans were optimistic about the COVID-19 pandemic’s trajectory for the first time since it began early last year. However, lingering concerns remained about the pandemic’s disruption on daily life.
60% of Americans said the COVID-19 situation in the country was getting better, the Gallup poll found. Only 14% believed the pandemic was becoming worse.
These results were the first time in Gallup’s polling on COVID-19 that a majority of Americans said the pandemic was getting better. This record optimism was likely due to a decline in new COVID-19 cases this year and the growing availability of vaccines.
The results also demonstrated a considerable shift in public opinion from November when 73% of respondents said the pandemic was getting worse. November’s poll was the highest point of the respondents’ perceived doom and gloom over the progress to combat the pandemic, according to Gallup.
As the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic approaches, Gallup examines how Americans’ attitudes about the health crisis have evolved over time. https://t.co/CnIjmNSwPY
— GallupNews (@GallupNews) March 5, 2021
Record optimism notwithstanding, polling data indicated that there were lingering concerns about the pandemic’s disruption on daily life. Among those polled, 70% of respondents said their lives were affected or disrupted by COVID-19, a number that held steady throughout the pandemic. (RELATED: The CDC Says COVID-19 Cases Are Rising, But That Isn’t The Whole Story)
Even as more Americans became optimistic about the pandemic’s trajectory, the number of Americans who said “the level of disruption” will last through the end of this year notably increased. 52% of respondents in February thought disruptions would continue through the end of 2021, compared to 33% a few months prior.
Yet, the poll found declined concern about access to COVID-19 tests and medical services. Among those polled, just 22% of respondents said they were worried about the availability of tests and 34% said they were worried about access to medical supplies and treatment.
The Trump administration in August 2020 secured 150 million COVID-19 rapid tests, likely alleviating some public concerns about access, according to Gallup. The Biden administration also upped vaccine distribution with the goal of vaccinating 300 million Americans by “the end of this summer.”
The Gallup poll surveyed 1,000 American adults via interview between Feb. 14-21. The poll had a margin of error of +/- four percentage points.