Americans are feeling pessimistic about the future of the COVID-19 pandemic for the first time in several months, a new poll finds.
Conducted by Gallup, the survey found a sharp decline in people who feel the country’s coronavirus situation is getting better, from 89 percent in June to only 40 percent in July.
Meanwhile, the percentage of Americans who feel the pandemic is getting worse also eclipsed those who believe it is getting better, with the figure rising from three percent to 45 percent over the same time period.
This is the highest figure seen since December 2021, as the U.S. was hit by the deadly winter surge.
The poll comes as the nation now suffers a fourth wave of the pandemic with the Indian ‘Delta’ variant primarily responsible for the rise in cases.
Only 40% of Americans believe the COVID situation in the country is getting better, a sharp decline from the 89 % figure from June, and eclipsed by 45% of Americans who think it is getting worse
Gallup surveys Americans weekly, and averages monthly totals to find a monthly result.
The last time there was more pessimism than optimism around the pandemic was in January, before many Americans were eligible to receive the vaccine.
At the time, 39 percent of Americans were feeling negative about the future, while 33 percent were positive.
Since then, as the vaccine as become more widely available, case rates began to decrease and pandemic mandates were lifted, Americans have slowly become more hopeful with the way things are going.
Optimism reached its peak in June, then just as it seemed the U.S. could put the pandemic in the rear-view, the Delta variant struck.
After months of declining cases, America lost control of its COVID-19 situation once again in mid-July.
Over the past month, new average cases have increased by 315 percent, from around 20,000 in early July to over 85,000 in early August.
The light Americans saw at the end of the pandemic-tunnel seems to have gotten further away as well.
More than 80% of Americans believe the pandemic will continue through 2021 or beyond
Cities like Los Angeles have reinstituted mask mandates in response to surges of the Delta COVID-19 variant. Pictured: people at Los Angeles’ Grand Central Market wear masks indoors
In June, 15 percent of Americans believed COVID-related disruptions to every day life would end in a matter of weeks, and 32 percent believed it would end in the next month.
But in July, only five percent see things returning to normal within a few weeks, and 12 percent in the next couple of months.
More than 80 percent of Americans believe a return to normal may take until the end of 2021 or longer.
While Americans did get a taste of normal over the past few months, as many areas rolled back pandemic mandates, restrictions are returning.
Both Los Angeles and San Francisco have brought back indoor mask mandates – even for the vaccinated – amid surges of the Delta variant.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also revised their guidelines last week, asking for vaccinated people in areas of high or substantial transmission to mask indoors.
One third of vaccinated Americans are afraid of getting COVID-19, compared to only one-fifth of the unvaccinated
In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday that indoor gyms, restaurants and other businesses will be required to check a person’s vaccine status before entry – the first city in the nation to make such a move.
While full fledged lockdowns are unlikely anywhere in the country, it is expected that other major cities will follow in creating required vaccine checks and reinstituting mask mandates.
Vaccinated people also seem to be more afraid of the virus than their unvaccinated peers, and have been since even before data on the Delta variant potentially causing breakthrough cases became public.
One-third, 33 percent, of vaccinated people say they are worried about contracting the virus.
Only a fifth of unvaccinated people hold the same fears.
Vaccinated people have been more afraid of the virus than unvaccinated people since April, per the data.
The amount of vaccinated people fearful of the virus has increased as well, from only 18 percent in June.
Unvaccinated people still account for a vast majority of cases, and nearly all hospitalizations and deaths suffered from COVID-19 in the United States.