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After Four Years, 59% in U.S. Say COVID-19 Pandemic Is Over

After Four Years, 59% in U.S. Say COVID-19 Pandemic Is Over

More than four in 10 do not expect their lives to return to pre-pandemic normalcy

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Four years after COVID-19 forced widespread shutdowns of businesses and schools across the U.S., 59% of Americans believe the pandemic is over. At the same time, about as many, 57%, report that their lives have not returned to normal, and 43% expect they never will.

National worry about contracting COVID-19 is near its lowest point in the trend dating back to the early days of the pandemic -- although, as has been the case throughout the pandemic, Democrats express much more concern about COVID-19 than Republicans do.

The impact of the coronavirus on the public since emerging as a global threat in 2020 is evident in the finding that seven in 10 U.S. adults report having had COVID-19 at least once.

These findings are from a March 5-11 update to Gallup's probability-based COVID-19 web panel tracking poll, which began in March 2020.

Majority of Americans, but Not Democrats, Say Pandemic Is Over

Gallup has tracked Americans’ perceptions of whether the pandemic is over in the U.S. since June 2021, during the COVID-19 vaccine rollout when most Americans received their first shot. But it was not until late May/early June 2023 that a majority thought it was over. This was shortly after President Joe Biden signed a congressional resolution to end the nation’s state of emergency and the U.S. and global public health emergency declarations ended. Fewer, though still a slim 53% majority, continued to believe it had come to an end in late August/early September.

The latest 59% of Americans who believe the pandemic is over is up slightly from late last summer but is still shy of the positivity expressed last May/June.


Republicans (79%) are almost twice as likely as Democrats (41%) to say the pandemic is over, while 63% of independents agree.

Majorities of Republicans have thought the pandemic is over since April 2022, and majorities of independents have said the same since February 2023. In contrast, only once, in May/June 2023, has a majority of Democrats agreed the pandemic is over.


Nearly Six in 10 Americans Say Pre-Pandemic Normalcy Has Still Not Returned

Americans’ current reports of whether their lives have returned to pre-pandemic normalcy are on par with last May/June. Currently, 43% of U.S. adults say their lives are completely back to normal, and 57% say they are not. That 57% includes 14% who believe their lives will eventually return to normal and 43% who think their pre-pandemic normalcy is gone for good.


A slim 52% majority of Republicans say their lives are completely back to normal, while roughly four in 10 Democrats and independents agree. Forty-six percent pluralities of both Democrats and independents do not think they will ever return to the normal that existed before COVID-19, while similar percentages of all three party groups say their old normal will return at some point.


Most Americans Aren’t Worried About Getting COVID-19, Say They Had It

Americans’ concern about getting COVID-19 is near its lowest point since the beginning of the pandemic. Currently, 20% of U.S. adults say they are very or somewhat worried that they will contract COVID-19. Worry was slightly lower than now in June 2021 (17%), before the onslaught of the delta and omicron variants, and in May/June 2023 (18%).

Worry about falling victim to the disease was highest -- between 55% and 59% -- at various points in the first year of the pandemic before vaccines were available.


Worry is significantly lower among those who evaluate their overall health as excellent or very good than those who say their health is fair or poor. Nearly nine in 10 of those who rate their health positively say they are not worried about contracting COVID-19, compared with less than seven in 10 of those who rate their health negatively.

Meanwhile, 70% of U.S. adults say they have tested positive for COVID-19 (59%) or have not tested positive but believe they had it (11%). This high incidence of infection may be one reason why worry about contracting COVID-19 is near the record low -- either because they feel protected due to antibodies or confident they can get through it without major health consequences.


The rates of self-reported COVID-19 infections are similar across all three political party groups and mirror the national average.

U.S. adults’ reports of when they tested positive for COVID-19 (or believe they had the disease) show that 2022 was the year with the highest infection rates. This tracks with U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics, which found the sharpest spike in cases was in 2022 as a result of the highly transmissible omicron variant. In all, 25% of U.S. adults say they had COVID-19 in 2020, 34% in 2021, 46% in 2022, 32% in 2023, and just 8% so far this year.


Bottom Line

Four years after COVID-19 swept across the country, with nearly 1.2 million COVID-related deaths in the U.S. to date, six in 10 U.S. adults believe the pandemic is over. That does not mean that most Americans have resumed their pre-pandemic lives or expect to ever do so. In fact, 43% do not expect their lives to ever return to a pre-COVID state. But their worry about contracting the disease has waned as increasing numbers of Americans have developed antibodies as a result of infection or vaccination.

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