In the wake of the Omicron spike, more and more state governors are easing public health requirements—even as the CDC and White House hold firm on recommended masking requirements. But pandemic fatigue is real and made even worse if your gym requires masks, which is totally the reason we’re currently out of breath on the elliptical. So how do Americans feel about Covid-related public health requirements?
Hold on, Guvnuh, Americans are still mask-forward in 2022 (or at least they were as of this snapshot in late January). With the exception of some outdoor spaces, a majority of adults would prefer mask mandates in all proposed locations. Americans are especially supportive of masks in tight spaces, whether it’s in the backseat of an Uber (63%), the middle seat of an aircraft fuselage (61%), or the frozen section of Trader Joe’s (59%).
Without fail, mask and vaccine mandates for many venues and events are preferred more than requiring negative Covid tests. Something about tickling your frontal lobe doesn’t have the same appeal anymore (what is this country coming to?!)—a feeling many Americans are familiar with, the majority having been tested for Covid at least once (61%).
Americans are generally supportive of mask mandates for many different members of the public. In particular, frontline workers like grocery store employees, hospital staff, and teachers are expected to mask up, and a majority of Americans expect vaccinated doctors and nurses (54% and 53%, respectively).
As states roll back restrictions, what do Americans predict for the future of Covid? Roughly half of the country (49%) believes Covid will fade into background-level noise, becoming endemic (similar to the flu or common cold), or that a new, less-deadly variant will replace former dominant variants. Another chunk believes medical science will play a decisive role in curbing the pandemic—32% expect higher vaccine adoption or more effective treatments. Much like Aunt Susan’s relationship with ‘80s hairstyles, 10% of Americans think the pandemic will never end. Not with that attitude!