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Data: Axios/Ipsos Poll; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

With each shot in the arm, more and more Americans are letting down their guard — seeing family and friends outside the home again, venturing out to eat or relaxing social distancing precautions, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

The big picture: Nine in 10 respondents said they know someone who's already been vaccinated, and 36% said they've been vaccinated themselves. Meanwhile, the share who know someone who died from COVID-19 has leveled off at around one in three, after climbing through 2020.

What they're saying: "These are glimmers of hope," said Cliff Young, president of Ipsos U.S. Public Affairs. "We’re seeing basically the reemerging of America."

  • "Obviously, it’s the vaccine itself coming online," Young said. "That conditions the way they see the world, and that world is a less risky one compared to last year."
  • "We’re in a different place than we were. Fundamentally, the vaccine changes the reality. That’s exciting."

By the numbers: 45% said they'd gone out to eat in the past week, up 12 percentage points from a month ago and the highest share in a year.

  • 48% said they visited friends or relatives outside the home, up nine points from a month ago and the highest share since October.
  • 67% said they're staying home and avoiding others as much as possible, down seven points from a month ago and the lowest share since we began asking the question 11 months ago.
  • 17% said their emotional well being has improved over the past week, the highest share in a year.

But, but, but: It's the unvaccinated in some cases who are returning to activities outside the home at the highest rates.

  • 52% of unvaccinated Americans reported seeing friends and relatives outside the home in the past week, compared with just 41% of those who'd been vaccinated.
  • The share of Americans saying they are "not at all" likely to take the vaccine remained steady at around one in five.
  • Their reasons included not trusting the vaccine or in some cases not trusting the government; wanting more information about side effects; or thinking they don't need it because they feel healthy now or already got the virus.

Between the lines: Only tiny shares of Americans — in the low single digits — said they believe false assertions that the vaccine is deadlier than the virus; causes sterility; involves microchip tracking; promotes cancer; or can disqualify recipients from life insurance benefits.

  • One in 10 falsely believe one of the vaccines contains aborted fetal cells.
  • But, depending on the question, between one fourth and one half of respondents said they didn't know if those conspiracy theories were true or not, highlighting the power of disinformation to confuse Americans.

Methodology: This Axios/Ipsos Poll was conducted March 19-22 by Ipsos' KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 995 general population adults age 18 or older.

  • The margin of sampling error is ±3.3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample of adults.

Go deeper

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenge to affirmative action at Harvard, UNC

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a pair of cases challenging the consideration of race in the college admissions processes.

Why it matters: The conservative high court's ruling could determine the future of affirmative action in higher education.

Europe's energy reliance on Russia is a crucial shield for Putin

Photo: Pavel Bednyakov/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

Cracks in the NATO alliance regarding sanctions for Russia should President Vladimir Putin order troops into Ukraine are in large part based on energy supply concerns.

Why it matters: Russia holds tremendous leverage over some European countries because it provides roughly 40% of Europe's natural gas supply. In Germany, this figure is greater than 50%.

Why the Fed might want to jolt the markets

Fed chair Jerome Powell at a hearing earlier this month. Photo: Brendan Smialowski-Pool/Getty Images

So far, financial markets are cooperating nicely with the Federal Reserve's efforts to restrain inflation. They're doing the Fed's work for it by creating tighter financial conditions, in a distinctly non-panicky way.

  • But as the central bank's policymakers meet this week, an underlying question they face is whether the adjustment is happening too slowly.

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