Americans remain divided over COVID-19, Pew surveys show

Since COVID-19 first began to spread in the US, Americans disagreed over the national pandemic response, arguing over everything from vaccines to face masks, homeschooling to quarantines. Now, a new survey of the Pew Research Center shows that little has changed.

The survey of more than 10,000 adults was conducted May 2-8, 2022, and not only shows that Americans are still divided on their approach and opinions about the pandemic, but also that those divisions also break down in a number of predictable ways — particularly in terms of political party affiliation and age.

But perhaps the most striking number the Pew researchers have published is one that unexpectedly agrees on a sunspot (perhaps too): 76% of Americans say the worst of The pandemic is behind us. However, the cost is still very high, and uber-transmitted variant with unprecedented level of immune evasion currently dominating the US — so that hopeful outlook warrants caution. Another unifying point is that more or less across demographics, 8 out of 10 Americans say their hospitals and community health care facilities have done an excellent or good job dealing with COVID. -19. And when it comes to the importance of K-12 learning during the pandemic, Americans agree that officials have missed the ball. Overall, 62% of the public — including 69% of Republicans and 57% of Democrats — say the United States has given too little priority to meeting student needs since the virus began spreading. spread in the early months of 2020, and schools began to close. .

Regarding other metrics, there is much less consensus. First, health authorities, including those from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are feeling the love from some groups, but not others. About 72% of Democrats say that public health officials have done a good or excellent job responding to the pandemic, compared with just 29% of Republicans.

People also have different views on vaccines, which – unsurprisingly – further divides us, but less than all the public shouting about them might suggest. Overall, 73% of Americans say they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, the figure is 85%; for Republicans and Republican-based independents, the figure is 60%. However, only 55% of Americans overall say vaccination is extremely or very effective in limiting the spread of disease. The rest is more or less equally divided between saying it is somewhat effective or has little or no effect. (If you look at science, there’s very little debate on this point: a model research published in June 2022 estimated that COVID-19 vaccines saved about 20 million lives globally in the first year they became available.)

Partisan differences are wide open when it comes to views on whether protecting public health receives adequate attention from governments and health authorities. Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, 46% say they get too few preferences, 46% say they get the right amount, and just 7% say they get it. too much. Among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, the numbers are 40% for too much attention, 20% for too little, and 38% for the right amount.

The survey also found that age represents a major boundary when it comes to people who already have the disease. Among adults aged 18 to 29, 59% say they have tested positive for COVID-19 or are fairly certain that they have had it, compared with only 26% of adults aged 65 and over. above.

As for the almost radioactive debate over mask-wearing, the country unsurprisingly splits into the middle, with 48% saying masks and social distancing have been extremely or very effective in limiting the spread of the disease and a roughly equal number say they have had little or no effect. (Again, many studies have been found to support these practices, including 2021 Nature Communications research found that people who reported reliably wearing a mask had an approximately 62% lower risk of contracting COVID-19 than those who did not.)

Finally, for the person who will undoubtedly give the most praise or warmth during any national emergency like a pandemic — the President — numbers do not bring joy. At the beginning of President Joe Biden’s term, 65% of Americans said they had confidence in his ability to deal with the outbreak. The current? Not much. Only 43% said he was doing a good or excellent job handling the pandemic, compared with 56% who said his performance was just good or poor. Unlike former President Donald Trump, Biden may have avoided contracting the disease so far, but he decided to feel its pain.

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