WebMD News Brief

Poll: Less Than Half of People Now Social Distancing

crowded city street

May 26, 2021 -- A new poll shows Americans are truly leaving pandemic safety measures behind, with more than half of respondents saying they didn’t wear face masks outside the home or stay 6 feet away from people.

“For the first time since the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index began, the number of Americans reporting socially distancing in the past week is below 50 percent,” the authors of the study wrote.

“At the same time, fewer are also wearing masks at all times when leaving the house – a decline mostly happening among vaccinated Americans, in the wake of the CDC’s newest guidance – and more are dining out and seeing friends or family outside of the household.”

The survey of about 1,100 adult Americans found just 45% of respondents say they’re wearing a mask all the time when they leave home and 32% say they’re staying 6 feet away from people -- the lowest percentages in more than a year.

Among vaccinated people, 47% say they wear a mask outside the home, down from 65% two weeks ago.

Among people over 65, only 41% say they wear a mask all the time, down from 62% two weeks ago. Among people 50-64, only 41% wear a mask out of the house, down from 56% two weeks ago.

People are socializing more, with 63% visiting friends or family in the last week and 58% going out to eat -- a 4-point increase from the last wave.

One thing hasn’t changed -- the number of people going back to the office. One in three employed respondents say they worked from home or remotely -- basically the same number as in late 2020.

Fewer respondents said air travel was risky -- 58% compared to 68% a month ago. Respondents said there’s still a large/moderate risk to going to an indoor concert (62%) or a bar or nightclub (64%).

“Taken overall, Americans are more inclined to start doing activities again as the perceived risk declines. But activities that are indoors and with large crowds are still seen as risky by a majority,” the study said.

About one in five respondents said the CDC guidance on face masks -- which says fully vaccinated people don’t need to wear masks in most indoor and outdoor situations -- was “very clear. One in three said it wasn’t clear at all.

The poll found many respondents didn’t trust people to be honest about their vaccination status.

Respondents had high trust in family and coworkers but low trust (around 25%) for people at sporting events or concerts, indoor restaurants, and airports. Republicans (47%) were more likely to say they trust people about their vaccination status than Democrats (19%).

WebMD Health News Brief

Sources

Ipsos. “America’s reopening shows little signs of slowing down”

© 2021 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.