Three out of 10 Americans say that the impact of COVID on day-to-day life will be permanent, according to a new survey conducted by insurtech company HealthCareInsider.
When asked when they thought that life would return to normal, 39 percent said they thought it would happen by the end of 2022, 28 percent thought it would take until 2023 or later and 30 percent don’t see it ever happening.
The level of pessimism has grown since the last edition of the company’s COVID-19 attitudes study at the end of 2020. In that survey, 61 percent of respondents said they thought that things would get back to normal at some point during 2021.
Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) said they have increased their health precautions due to the Omicron variant, limiting such activities as holiday travel and family gatherings.
However, there is a growing belief that vaccines will play a major role in ending the pandemic. While 51 percent of respondents in last year’s survey said that a COVID-19 vaccine would help end the pandemic, that number rose to 61 percent in the new survey.
Comfort levels vary considerably when it comes to resuming various activities. More than half of respondents say that they’re already comfortable shopping indoors (61 percent) or dining and drinking indoors (52 percent), while far fewer are comfortable working out in a gym (33 percent), not wearing a mask in public (32 percent) or attending a concert or sporting event (29 percent).
The desire to travel has also been hit hard, with only 34 percent saying they feel ready to travel now. But the long-term view is far more positive, with only five percent saying they don’t think they’ll ever be comfortable with traveling again.
Travel also tops the list of what respondents said they were most looking forward to after the pandemic is over, with 25 percent choosing it. Other popular choices were not wearing a mask (22 percent) and family gatherings (15 percent).
HealthCareInsider’s study was conducted via a SurveyMonkey Audience on Dec. 13, among a national sample of 1,183 U.S. adults aged 18+.