Americans More Pessimistic Life Will Ever Return To Pre-Pandemic ‘Normal’ After Brutal Summer, Poll Finds – Forbes


Americans are less optimistic they can return to their “normal” lives than they did earlier this year, according to a new Axios-Ipsos poll, after a summer of new pandemic restrictions amid soaring Covid-19 infections, record-high deaths and overwhelmed hospitals.   

Key Facts

Three in 10 Americans think it will take more than a year for life to get back to pre-pandemic “normal,” according to the Axios-Ipsos poll of 1,015 Americans conducted between October 8-11.   

That’s more than triple the proportion when the question was polled in June, where just 9% thought it would take more than a year for life to get back to normal. 

Other metrics display a similar, though less dramatic, drop in optimism and a shift towards longer timescales by which people think life will return to normal.

Nearly a quarter (24%) think life will get back to normal within a year, up five points from June, while just 13% now think it will within the next 1-6 months, almost a third of the number answering that in June (36%). 

One in ten (10%) think life will never get back to normal—up three points from June (7%)—and fewer (22%) say they have already returned to their pre-pandemic life than did in June (28%). 

Though many report “normal” feeling further away, the poll found most people to be undertaking everyday activities like visiting friends or relatives (58%), visiting a non-grocery retail store (60%) and eating out in restaurants (55%) in the last week, some of the highest figures since polling began in March 2020. 

Surprising Fact

The proportion of people believing life will never get back to normal in October, 10%, is the second-highest recorded by the poll since it began asking in January 2021. The highest, 11%, was recorded in mid-February and the figure has generally oscillated between lows of 5% (in mid-March and mid-May 2021) and 8%. Though down from a high in June, the 22% believing life to already be back to normal is also the second-highest figure recorded for that question.  

Key Background

While Americans may be less optimistic about life getting back to normal sooner than they did in summer, polling and data indicate a mixed return to “normal” activities. Besides returning to restaurants and visiting friends and family, online bookings for domestic travel, which had been nearing pre-pandemic levels, are falling and polling suggests more than half of Americans will postpone or cancel trips to areas experiencing major outbreaks. Vaccination is a key factor for many in their return to normal. One poll found half of Americans wary about spending time with unvaccinated friends and family and immunization is now a requirement for many jobs across the country.

Further Reading

Covid-19 Vaccine Mandates Are Working—Here’s The Proof (Forbes)

Unvaccinated Need Not Apply — Job Ads Requiring Covid Jab Skyrocket (Forbes)

Americans Are Still Cautious About July 4 Celebrations And Travel, Polls Show (Forbes)

Axios-Ipsos poll: Biden is losing COVID trust (Axios)

Full coverage and live updates on the Coronavirus