Sept. 17, 2021 -- A majority of people surveyed in a recent poll say that COVID-19 restrictions have helped slow the spread of the virus.

In the Pew Research Center poll released this week, 62% of respondents said the restrictions have been worth the cost, compared to 37% who say the restrictions have not.

“Americans on balance view the public health benefits of these restrictions as having been worth the costs,” Pew said in a news release that came out with the poll, in which 10,348 U.S. adults were surveyed Aug. 23-29.

But opinions ranged on which restrictions are a good idea.

About 80% of respondents say masks should be required on planes and public transportation, while 79% say international travel should be restricted.

About half say restaurants should be limited to take-out business, while 48% of respondents think schools should be closed to in-person learning.

Should proof of vaccination be required for certain activities? Sixty-one percent say it should be for air travel, but only 50% say proof should be required for eating inside a restaurant.

The poll found sharp differences of opinion between Republicans and Democrats.

In general, Democrats widely supported restrictions to curb COVID-19, but Republicans usually supported “select steps -- like limiting international travel and requiring masks on public transportation -- while opposing others and offering little support for vaccine mandates,” Pew said.

When it comes to wearing a face mask in a store or business, about 71% of Democrats say they do it most of the time, compared to just 30% of Republicans. (For context, back in February, 93% of Democrats and 83% of Republicans said they did.

Pew found 86% of Democrats and independents who lean toward the Democratic Party are at least partially vaccinated, compared to 60% of Republicans and people who lean Republican. Among all respondents, 73% have gotten at least one dose, while 26% are unvaccinated.

Among Democrats, 74% say President Joe Biden is doing a good job dealing with the pandemic, but only 15% of Republicans say the same. In February, 84% of Democrats and 20% of Republicans gave a positive response when asked about his performance.

An analysis of the survey by The Washington Post noted a big gap in opinions between vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

Only 32% of unvaccinated people are concerned about becoming infected and requiring hospitalization, while 50% of vaccinated people are concerned -- even though data shows the large majority of people becoming infected and hospitalized are unvaccinated.

What’s more, only 38% of unvaccinated people are worried about unknowingly spreading the virus to somebody else, compared to 66% of vaccinated people.

WebMD Health News Brief


Pew Research Center. “Majority in U.S. Says Public Health Benefits of COVID-19 Restrictions Worth the Costs, Even as Large Shares Also See Downsides.”

The Washington Post: “Some striking numbers on the unvaccinated among us.”

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