Apr 12, 2022 - Health

Axios-Ipsos poll: Most Americans say COVID is no longer a crisis

How would you describe the state of coronavirus in the U.S. right now?
Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Less than one in 10 Americans now describe COVID-19 as a crisis — with about three in four calling it a manageable problem and one in six saying it's no problem at all — according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: These sentiments — and the public's growing desire to be done with mask mandates and other restrictions — raise significant challenges for public health officials in managing new surges, and could create real political headwinds ahead of the midterms.

Between the lines: Democrats were five times as likely as Republicans to say COVID-19 is a crisis (16% to 3%). Meanwhile, Republicans were 10 times as likely as Democrats to say COVID-19 is not a problem (31% to 3%).

  • Here's another way to look at the overall numbers: About twice as large a share of Americans said COVID-19 is "not a problem at all" (17%) than said it is "a serious crisis" (9%).

The big picture: The latest wave of our national survey actually found a slight uptick in people's perceptions of the risks of certain activities, including flying, attending sports events and returning to work. Yet it shows the highest share of Americans visiting friends and family members outside the home — and the lowest rate of social distancing — since the early part of last summer.

  • Just half of respondents now support schools requiring students, teachers and administrators to wear masks, down from seven in 10 at the start of the school year.
  • The number of respondents who said their employers are requiring them to wear masks dropped by nearly half over the past month, from 39% to 22%.
  • 37% of respondents said they've already returned to their normal, pre-COVID lives, a new survey high.

But, but, but: Americans take a much rosier view of the trajectory of infections and illness than federal data shows.

  • Clear majorities said that based on what they know or feel about the data "at this moment," they believe their states are experiencing decreasing rates of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
  • CDC data shows a different picture, with cases rising, and hospitalizations and deaths holding steady at low levels.

What they're saying: "People aren't following the COVID case numbers on a daily basis," said Ipsos pollster and senior vice president Chris Jackson. "People see coverage and ... assume the trend line is continuing even if it doesn't."

The intrigue: The survey asked people who haven't yet or don't believe they've yet had COVID why they'd been able to avoid it.

  • About two-thirds said it was because they'd been careful and taken precautions, while one in four said they'd simply been "lucky." Another 4% said COVID isn't really present where they live.
  • Democrats were the most likely to credit safety precautions (85%) while Republicans were the least likely (68%). Republicans were about twice as likely as Democrats to attribute it to luck (25% vs. 13%).

Methodology: This Axios/Ipsos Poll was conducted April 8-11 by Ipsos' KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 1,043 general population adults age 18 or older.

  • The margin of sampling error is ±3.4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample of adults.
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