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Most Now Say Pandemic Is Over, but Normalcy Remains Elusive

Most Now Say Pandemic Is Over, but Normalcy Remains Elusive

Story Highlights

  • 64% think the pandemic is over in the U.S., up 15 points since February
  • 18% are worried about getting COVID-19, lowest since June 2021
  • Still fewer than half (43%) say lives back to pre-pandemic normal

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Americans’ assessments of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. are markedly improved, as a record-high 64% now say it is over, and fewer than two in 10 express worry about contracting the disease.

Despite these positive indicators, less than half of U.S. adults, 43%, say their lives have returned to their pre-pandemic normal, while 56% report that they have not. This majority includes 41% who say normalcy will never return and 15% who expect that it eventually will.

These findings are from a May 30-June 6 update to Gallup's probability-based COVID-19 web panel poll.

For First Time, Majority of Americans and Democrats Think Pandemic is Over

Gallup has asked Americans whether they think the COVID-19 pandemic is over since June 2021, and until now, found less than half saying it was. This includes a 49% reading in February. Since then, the percentage of Americans who think the pandemic is over has jumped 15 percentage points to 64%, while 36% say it has not ended yet.


Although Americans across party lines increasingly believe the pandemic is over, Democrats’ views have changed the most since February. For the first time in Gallup’s trend, a majority of Democrats, 51%, now say the pandemic has ended, marking a 23-point increase since earlier this year. At the same time, Republicans’ (84%) and independents’ (65%) views of the pandemic’s demise have grown by nine and 10 points, respectively.

These changes may be due, at least in part, to a series of official announcements about the pandemic nationally and globally. In April, President Joe Biden signed a congressional resolution to end the nation’s state of emergency, and in May, both the U.S. and global declarations of a public health emergency ended.


Worry About Contracting COVID-19 Lowest Since June 2021

Americans’ level of worry about contracting COVID-19 has fallen seven points to 18%, the lowest since June 2021, when vaccinations were on the rise, many restrictions were being rolled back, and the public was hopeful that the pandemic was winding down. That hope proved short-lived as the arrival of the disease’s delta variant brought a sharp increase in infections, hospitalizations and deaths in summer 2021.


In all, just 2% of U.S. adults now say they are “very worried,” while 16% are “somewhat worried,” 36% “not too worried” and 46% “not worried at all” that they will get the coronavirus. This marks the highest percentage saying they are not worried at all about contracting COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. While 71% of Republicans are not worried at all about it, the same is true for 50% of independents and 29% of Democrats. The plurality of Democrats, 45%, say they are not too worried.


Many Americans Still Haven’t Returned to Pre-Pandemic Normalcy

Although most Americans think the pandemic is over and a near-record low worry about contracting COVID-19, there is less consensus about whether their lives are back to the normal that existed before the pandemic.

Gallup has tracked Americans’ reports of a return to normalcy since June 2021. A new high of 43% today, up from 34% in February, say their normal lives have resumed. Still, about as many, 41%, do not expect their lives to ever go back to pre-pandemic normalcy. The remaining 15% say their lives are not yet back to normal but will eventually be.


A majority of Republicans, 56%, report that their lives are completely back to normal, marking an increase of six points since February. Democrats (39%) and independents (40%) are less likely than Republicans to say their lives are now normal, but both readings are up from February -- 15 and seven points, respectively. Still, pluralities of both groups say pre-pandemic normalcy will never be achieved.


Bottom Line

For the first time in the three-plus years since the COVID-19 pandemic began, a majority of Americans say it is over. Worry about contracting the disease has also fallen to a near-record low point. Yet, for all of this positivity, the public remains divided over whether their lives are back to normal. Just as optimism about the pandemic’s trajectory has grown, so too have expectations for a return to pre-pandemic normalcy, but less so. As time passes, Americans may well become further convinced that normalcy is within their grasp.

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