Are Americans ready for Covid to be lifted? It's complicated

A Kaiser Family Foundation survey finds that people want to return to normal, but are concerned about the consequences.

Are Americans ready for Covid to be lifted? It's complicated

According to a poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, Americans aren't interested in continuing with masks and social distancing but are very afraid of what relaxing Covid-19 mitigation steps could mean for them in the near future.

Survey of 1,502 adults in the United States was conducted February 9-21. As a growing number states and municipalities announced plans to lift Covid restrictions.
However, it was done before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared that it was
easing guidelines for mandatory masks. This announcement means that 70% of Americans can now leave the house without wearing masks indoors.

These new findings show that the nation wants to return to normal. However, there are ongoing concerns about the virus's possible impact on vulnerable populations such as the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.

61% of those surveyed agreed that lifting restrictions could endanger the most vulnerable to complications from the disease, and almost half stated they were worried about more deaths.

However, 65 percent of respondents said that they were concerned about the impact of mask usage and restrictions on group gatherings on children's and teens' mental health. A further 63 percent expressed concern about the business impact of mitigation measures.

Drew Altman, President and CEO of Kaiser Family Foundation stated that "a lot of the public are sensibly both anxious about returning to normal".

According to the survey, the root causes of public anxiety about mitigation measures varied based on party lines.

82% of Democrats were concerned that too much relaxation would cause harm to the most vulnerable people, increase deaths, and overburden hospital resources. Only a third of Republicans said that this was a concern.

Nearly three quarters of Republicans, and 56 percent of Democrats, expressed concern that restrictions on youth would continue to negatively affect them. These percentages remained about the same for concerns that mitigations would harm businesses.

Potential impact on children

The American Academy of Pediatrics reported Monday that although covid cases among children are on the decline, they remain high.

Last week, there were 126,774 cases of pediatric Covid. This is a significant decrease from the January peak of over 1.1 million cases.

Many school districts are easing the requirements of staff and students for masks as more cases fall across the country. Wednesday is the last day for the New York state school mandate.

However, families often disagree about how schools should proceed.

According to the Kaiser survey, 43% of parents believed schools should keep requiring masks while 46% said they shouldn't.

There is still disagreement about whether schools should require Covid vaccinations for staff and students.

The survey found that just over half of parents were against vaccines, and 46 percent supported them.

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