Coinciding with President Joe Biden’s surrender to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) new masking guidance, public optimism about the coronavirus pandemic has tanked.
“In a dramatic shift from last month, more Americans now say the coronavirus situation in the U.S. is getting worse (45 percent) rather than better (40 percent),” according to a Gallup poll released on Monday.
The numbers are drastically different from June, when a record 89 percent of those polled said the situation was improving and only 3 percent said it was getting worse.
Last week, the CDC issued new guidance requiring Americans in some areas to wear masks indoors — even if fully vaccinated — to combat the delta variant of the Chinese coronavirus.
A post-July 4 spike in cases in Massachusetts among vaccinated and unvaccinated people reportedly influenced the CDC’s decision to issue indoor masking guidelines, even though no one died.
However, the agency also used research from India, which was based in part on vaccines that are not approved in the U.S. and reportedly failed peer review.
“The current survey marks the first time since January that more U.S. adults have been pessimistic than optimistic about the COVID-19 situation,” according to the poll report.
President Joe Biden and his administration have repeatedly punted questions about new guidance to health officials. The White House said last week that Biden would obey the CDC — even if they wanted more coronavirus lockdowns.
Americans are now expecting “societal disruptions related to COVID-19” to continue through the end of 2021 or longer, according to the poll. In comparison, nearly half of pollsters in June expected the “disruptions” to only last a few more weeks or months.
“Instead, 41 percent expect the COVID-19 disruptions to persist through the end of the year, and 42 percent — up from 17 percent in June — believe they will stretch into 2022,” the poll states.
Even though officials ceaselessly tout the effectiveness of coronavirus vaccines, vaccinated Americans are the most concerned about catching coronavirus, according to the poll. At the same time, the amount of vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans wearing face masks is still on the decline.
“Americans appear to be well aware of the rate of COVID-19 infections in the U.S. at any given time,” the poll states. “Nonetheless, Americans are not yet ready to return to strict social distancing or to recommend that the country shut down. But along with their increased pessimism about the state of the pandemic, Americans foresee dealing with pandemic disruptions for far longer than they did just a month ago.”
Biden’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic has often been considered his strongest core issue, though recent polls show growing disapproval.
Results for the poll are based on self-administered web surveys conducted July 19-26, 2021. The margin of sampling error is ±2 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.