COVID-19 Isn’t Going Anywhere — And Americans Know It

Source: New York TImes


The idea that Americans are tired of the pandemic has become conventional wisdom, with important policy implications. Democratic governors in blue states like New Jersey and California have rolled back mask mandates, citing the importance of “normalcy.” But is “normal” what Americans really expect? And what does “normal” even mean, anyway?

A recent Monmouth University poll found that 70 percent of Americans agreed with the statement, “It’s time we accept that Covid is here to stay and we just need to get on with our lives.” This poll got a lot of attention — it was featured in The New York Times, The Hill and other outlets, and was even discussed in a recent episode of FiveThirtyEight’s Politics podcast. It’s not an outlier, either. A Feb. 11-13 poll from Harris found that 71 percent of Americans agreed with the statement, “We will be living with COVID in some form forever.”

At this point, most Americans believe COVID-19 will persist into the near (or distant) future, but what that means to people’s daily lives is the subject of much more dissent. That’s because understanding COVID-19 as an ongoing reality means something different to everyone.