Americans are becoming less gloomy about the CCP virus crisis, a Gallup poll shows.
The uptick in optimism hasn’t, on the whole, translated into reduced use of precautions such as social distancing and avoiding public gatherings, although the percentage of people saying they always wear a mask when outdoors has fallen to a new low, the survey says.
Fewer than half of the people who responded to the survey, conducted Aug. 17–30 on a random sample of 2,714 adults, said they think the health crisis from the outbreak of the virus is getting worse. That’s down 14 percentage points from mid-August, when 61 percent said their “impression of the coronavirus situation in the U.S.” was deteriorating.
Pessimism topped out in July, when 73 percent said they thought the pandemic was getting worse, as COVID-19 cases surged in parts of the country. The number of new daily cases peaked July 24, with a Worldometers compilation of official data showing 78,615 infections. After falling steadily, the new daily case count was 28,561 on Sept. 8.
Optimism, meanwhile, is on the rise, the survey shows.
Compared to a mid-July low of just 15 percent expressing the view that the CCP virus situation in the United States is “getting better,” in the second half of August, 30 percent said they think there’s an improvement.
In addition, 23 percent of respondents said they think the situation is “staying the same.”
Fear about contracting the virus also dropped in August, with 53 percent saying they are “very” or “somewhat worried” about falling ill with COVID-19, compared from the 55–59 percent range Gallup said it has noted since June.
Americans’ use of virus-related safety precautions such as self-isolation, social distancing, and avoiding public gatherings has remained mostly constant since around the beginning of June. While the percentage of people who said they practiced social distancing “often” or “very often” peaked at 92 percent in late March and early April—the height of the CCP virus lockdowns—that percentage has been in the 73–78 percent range since early June.
The use of face masks remains high, with 92 percent of respondents said they wore a facial covering in the past week when outside their home. However, the percentage of those saying they “always” wear one in outdoor settings fell to a new low of 24 percent, down from 29 percent a week earlier.
To date, the number of Americans who have been infected by the CCP virus stands at more than 6.33 million, while more than 189,000 have died, a Johns Hopkins University tally shows.