Fears related to COVID-19 are at their lowest level since the beginning of the pandemic after a precipitous drop since the start of the year, but concerns about a renewed surge of cases persist, according to a Monmouth University Poll released Wednesday.
Just 42% of Americans said they were concerned about a family member contracting the virus, down from a previous low of 67% and the previous high of 83%.
The poll found the decline was reasonably uniform across demographic groups. Men (21%) and women (24%) reported similar levels of concern, as did residents above the age of 65 (23%) and those below the same (22%).
White Americans (17%) are less concerned about the virus than Americans of Color (32%), though levels of concerns among both groups have dropped by 38 percentage points since January.
“Vaccine access is certainly behind this sharp drop in Covid anxiety. The public is not saying we are out of the woods, but the sense of uncertainty is lifting,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute
Concerns over the virus were lower among Republicans (20%) than they were among Democrats (32%), though Democratic fears dropped saw a sharper 47-point drop. Just 41% of Republicans reported being concerned about the virus in January.
Only 15% of independents reported concerns about the virus.
At the same time, Republicans are still far likelier to say they won’t be getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Of the roughly 20% of respondents who said they would not get the vaccine if they could avoid it, 69% were Republicans or Republican leaners.
They account for 31% of the poll’s vaccinated respondents.
“We have seen this trend since vaccines became available. Opposition to getting the shot will not budge without stronger and more consistent messaging from GOP leaders about taking the vaccine. However, it might be too late at this point since Republican distrust in the efficacy of Covid vaccines is abysmally low,” said Murray.
Despite the upturn in attitudes, a majority of respondents reported lingering concerns about another virus surge. A little more than a quarter, 26%, said they were very concerned about a new wave of cases, and 31% said they were somewhat concerned.
The poll sampled 810 American adults and has a margin of error of 3.5%.