By Megan Brenan of Gallup,
Three years after the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, relatively few Americans, 33%, say their lives have completely returned to normal, and those who say their lives have not yet returned to normal quite normal are largely pessimistic about this happening. Nearly half of American adults, 47%, believe pre-pandemic normality is not possible for them, but 20% believe their lives will eventually return to normal.
Those expectations have improved slightly since last summer, but remain largely unchanged from Gallup’s previous reading in October.
The findings come from a February 21-28 update of Gallup’s odds-based COVID-19 web panel survey.
As with many attitudes related to the pandemic, Americans’ opinions diverge sharply and most significantly by partisanship. Just as Republicans are more likely than Democrats to perceive that the pandemic is over, they are also more likely to say their own lives are completely back to normal.
Half of Republicans say their lives are back to normal, and 18% say their lives aren’t normal yet but will eventually be. That leaves 33% of Republicans who say their lives will never go back to normal. In contrast, 53% of Democrats believe their lives will never return to normal. The expectations of independents are closer to those of Democrats.
Perceptions of a return to normalcy in their own lives also differed significantly by gender and annual family income. Majorities in two typically Democratic-leaning groups — women and lower-income adults — say their lives will never return to normal, while their counterparts are less likely to say so.
Three years after COVID-19 swept the US, prompting nationwide lockdowns, roughly half of Americans say the pandemic is over, only a quarter are worried about contracting the disease and more than six out of 10 believe that the situation is improving. Social distancing behaviors have declined as more US adults report being vaccinated or infected with COVID-19.
Despite all this, only a third of Americans say their lives have returned to their pre-pandemic normal, nearly half report they have not returned to normal and never will, and 20% say that life is not normal yet but that it will eventually be. . The 47% who don’t foresee a return to normal may be getting used to a “new normal” that, for some, means wearing masks occasionally, getting regular COVID-19 vaccines and avoiding some situations that can put them at greater risk of suffering. infection, especially at times when COVID-19 infections are on the rise. The issue remains politically charged, with Republicans more likely to report a return to normalcy, while Democrats more likely to say their lives will never be the same.