With all those masked children showing up on our doorstep earlier this week, it’s difficult to assess whether or not the pandemic is over. The masks have definitely evolved since the early days of COVID, considering all the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Michael Myers face coverings. Instead of assuming Batman’s ridiculous attempt to conceal his identity meets N95 standards, we decided to ask Americans about their current perceptions of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over two-thirds of Americans (68%) believe that the pandemic isn’t over. The vast majority of Americans know someone who has contracted COVID-19 (82%)—the other 18% must just think their friend had a really bad cold. Considering almost half of all adults (44%) know someone who died from the virus, trying to scare COVID-19 away in a Freddy Kreuger costume is starting to make a lot of sense.
Surprisingly, life doesn't look so different between those who believe the pandemic is over and those who do not. One difference is that Americans who think the pandemic—like disco—is in the past, are more likely to have attended a large party or social gathering (35%) or an in-person conference (14%) compared to those who think the pandemic isn't over (28% and 7%, respectively). With all these social events, maybe someone should bring back disco (minus the Panic!).
Exactly half of Americans believe the pandemic will eventually end with COVID-19 becoming an endemic similar to the cold or flu—up from 40% when we last asked the question in February. While the second-most-predicted end to the pandemic was a higher vaccination rate (16%) back in February, Americans have learned that anti-vaxxers stick to their guns (literally and figuratively) on the matter.