Fears of catching COVID-19 have fallen to an all-time low with just 35 percent of Americans now very or somewhat worried about contracting the virus as the vaccine rollout continues to ramp up nationwide.
New data from Gallup shows just over a third of people were still fearful in March, down from a record high of 59 percent in July back when states lifted stay-at-home orders and businesses reopened, fueling another wave of the virus.
This is also a major drop of 14 percentage points in the space of a month after 49 percent cited concerns of catching the virus in February.
The dramatic shift comes as the nation’s vaccination program continues to accelerate with almost a third of people now having received at least their first dose.
Fears of catching COVID-19 have fallen to an all-time low with just 35 percent of Americans now very or somewhat worried about contracting the virus as the vaccine rollout continues nationwide
The positive outlook comes as almost a third of Americans have now received at least their first dose of the vaccine
Gallup’s latest COVID-19 probability-based web panel survey was carried out between March 15 and March 21.
It reveals older people are now among the least concerned about contracting the virus with just 21 percent of Americans aged 65 and over saying they were somewhat or very worried.
This is a 25 percentage point decrease from 46 percent of Americans aged 65 and over who said they were concerned about the virus just one month earlier.
This age group is most likely to have received the vaccine, suggesting parallels between the rise of the vaccine rollout and a fall in concern about the virus.
By comparison, 42 percent of people aged 18 to 44 years old said they were still somewhat or very worried about catching COVID-19.
Though this proportion has also fallen, from 53 percent in February, this corresponds with the younger generations largely not yet being eligible for the vaccine when the survey was carried out.
New data from Gallup shows Americans’ concerns about catching COVID-19 have fallen
Fully vaccinated people unsurprisingly reported lower levels of worry about contracting COVID-19, but the same trend does not apply to people who are partially vaccinated, the research found.
While just 21 percent of fully vaccinated Americans cited concerns, this rose to 37 percent among those who have received one of a two-dose vaccine.
This is despite the first dose offering some protection against the virus.
A CDC study last week found the Pfizer and Moderna two-doses vaccines were 80 percent effective in preventing infection among healthcare and other essential workers after just the first dose.
This rises to 90 percent two weeks after receiving the second dose.
The Gallup survey found that Americans who plan to get the vaccine but have not yet received it are the most concerned about contracting the disease when it came to differences among respondents by vaccination status.
Survey respondents also showed the most positive outlook to date about the coronavirus situation in the US
But, despite the more positive outlook, Americans are still feeling the lasting implications of the pandemic. Almost two-thirds (64 percent) said their lives have been disrupted a great deal or a fair amount by the virus
Of this group, 49 percent said they were somewhat or very worried.
It then follows that people not planning to get the vaccine said they were least concerned at just 19 percent.
The research also reveals there is now less concern about access to hospital services or treatment for COVID-19.
Just 22 percent of Americans said they were very or moderately worried about access, the lowest rate since last April when almost two-thirds (64 percent) of the population were concerned about this.
Only 14 percent of Americans said they were worried about access to COVID-19 tests now, with testing now widespread across America.
This is a marked change from April when testing was in short supply and 60 percent of people were fearful about access.
Survey respondents also reported the most positive outlook to date about the overall coronavirus situation in the US.
More than three-quarters (77 percent) of Americans said they believe the situation is getting better, up from 60 percent in February and more than double the 33 percent in January.
But, despite the more positive outlook, Americans are still feeling the lasting implications of the pandemic.
Almost two-thirds (64 percent) said their lives have been disrupted a great deal or a fair amount by the virus.
This is only a minor change from the 70 percent who said the same in February and around the same as the 65 percent in June as the nation was reopening.
The overall more positive outlook comes as 32.4 percent of Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 18.8 percent are now fully vaccinated.
In total, more than 167 million doses have been administered since the first American to be vaccinated got a shot in the arm back on December 14.
Joe Biden is expected to announce Tuesday that all American adults must be made eligible by states to receive the vaccine by April 19.
This would move the eligibility goalpost up by two weeks from the previous plan of May 1 as the pace of the rollout has steadily climbed.
A total of 34 states have already opened up vaccination eligibility to those 16 and older and 41 states will have have it opened up to adults before April 19 anyway.