It has been a year since SARS-CoV-2 started spreading globally and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) became part of the medical lexicon. Over the past year, it has been well documented just how much the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the lives of millions across the US as they were confronted with inconveniences such as shelter-in-place orders, face mask mandates, and travel restrictions.
To find out how Americans view this disruption and what they think of the pandemic's trajectory, Gallup recently conducted a web-based survey of 4098 US adults aged ≥18 years from January 25-January 31, 2021. Respondents are members of the Gallup Panel, a multimode Panel with approximately 100 000 members that has been collecting US adults' opinions about pressing issues since 2004. Scroll through the slides below to find out the results.
When respondents were asked how long they believe the level of disruption occurring to travel, school, work, and public events in the US due to COVID-19 will continue, about 53% said longer than mid-2021, up from 33% who said the same in December 2020.
This decrease might be largely due to a shift away from perceptions that the disruption would be over by mid-2021, with 37% of adults said it would last through the first half of 2021—a significant decrease from the 55% who said the same in December 2020.
Respondents' outlook on the disruption due to COVID-19 was also strongly associated with how they evaluate the US vaccination program. Sixty-eight percent of adults who said they were "very dissatisfied" with the COVID-19 vaccine rollout also said COVID-19-related disruption will last past mid-2021 vs 42% of those who were "very satisfied" with vaccination efforts.
While more Americans predict the disruption due to COVID-19 will last longer, their perception of the current trajectory of the pandemic has improved. Between December 2020 and January 2021, the percentage of respondents who said the COVID-19 situation is worsening decreased from 63% (Dec 2020) to 39% (Jan 2021). Meanwhile, the percentages of respondents saying the COVID-19 situation is improving or staying the same have both increased.
Respondents who were most dissatisfied with the COVID-19 vaccine rollout are also among the most likely to be pessimistic about the trajectory of the pandemic. Among those who were "very dissatisfied" with the rollout, 18% said the COVID-19 situation is improving vs 57% who said it is worsening. Alternatively, among those who were "very satisfied" with the rollout, 59% said the COVID-19 situation is improving vs 16% who said it is getting worse.
The poll also highlighted differences in levels of optimism by both age and race/ethnicity. Non-White Americans and those aged ≥65 years were among the least optimistic subgroups and shared similar views on the trajectory of the pandemic; 46% of non-White Americans and 45% of those aged ≥65 years said the COVID-19 situation is worsening.
Despite the significant changes in Americans' perceptions of how long the COVID-19 pandemic will last and the pandemic's trajectory, there has been little change in the percentage of respondents who said their lives have been disrupted by COVID-19. Between June 2020 and December 2020, the percentage of respondents who said they have experienced a "great deal" or "fair amount" of disruption in their lives due to COVID-19 has been between approximately 65%-72%; in January 2021, 69% of respondents said the same.