Poll: Soaring number of Americans say they’re getting back to ‘normal, pre-COVID’ life

Percentage who say they never wear mask has more than doubled since January.

Updated: August 13, 2022 - 5:10pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

A rapidly growing number of Americans appear to be mostly done with taking COVID precautions and avoidance measures, a trend that comes as the COVID pandemic wears on and the promise of vaccines to fully end it has long since disappeared.

The University of Annenberg’s Public Policy Center said in poll results this week that while “many Americans know of the potential risks to themselves and their families from infection with Covid-19,” nevertheless “growing numbers say they have returned to living their ‘normal’ pre-pandemic lives.” 

Notably, over 40 percent of respondents say they have “already returned to their ‘normal, pre-Covid-19 life’,” a high number made even more striking by the fact that it is “up from 16% in January.”

Similarly, 54 percent of Americans “say they rarely or never wear a mask indoors when with people from outside their household,” a figure which is “more than double the proportion in January.”

Those numbers come during the same week that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced new COVID guidelines that did away with roughly two years’ worth of strict distancing and quarantine measures. 

The new rules drop directives such as social distancing and isolation after an exposure to COVID; it also downplays “contact tracing,” a measure which officials heavily touted in the early days of the pandemic but which has rarely been used throughout the country since then.