Thursday, 2 September 2021

Covidiot News - Signs That US Covidiots Might be Accepting Reality

Two-Thirds in U.S. Now Say COVID-19 Situation Worsening

In my post yesterday I said the signs were not encouraging that the truth might be getting through to the addled brains of Trump supporters that the anti-COVID vaccines save lives. However, figures from Gallop today suggest I could be wrong and that the recent surge in cases, especially in red states, might just be concentrating their minds enough to make them face up to reality.

The poll conducted between August 16 and August 22, 2021 shows a marked change in Americans' assessment of the seriousness of the pandemic, flipping from highly positive to highly negative since June 2021.

The percentage of those interviewed who though the coronavirus siruation ws getting worse has gone from 3% in June to 89% in August. In July, the split was about 50:50.

The figure for those who think the situation is getting better has slumped from 89% in June to 15% in August.

However, the evidence is that a large number of Republican voters are still struggling to accept reality with only 51% believing the situation is worsening - a rise from 2% in June but still nowhere near the 89% of Democrats who accept that a tripling of cases and deaths in the previous month is a sign that things are getting worse.

67% of Americans now accept that the economic and social disruption due to the pandemic will continue into 2022 - up from 17% in June.

Having fallen to its lowest level in June 2021 of 17%, the percentage of Americans who are concerned about catching the virus has risen to 39%, although this figure, at 46% (up 13% on the June figure) for those who have been vaccinated is higher than the 25% (up just 5%) for unvaccinated people, suggesting that those with a better grasp on the seriousness of the situation are those sensible enough to get vaccinated whilst those who continue to regard the risk of infection as low, are not. This is despite the evidence of the recent δ variant surge in which people from Republican areas where the vaccine uptake is low, are four times more likely to catch the virus and five times more likely to die from it.

This greater awareness of the risk and assessment that the situation is worsening has produced only a modest increase in those taking active measures to reduce the risk, probably due in part to the greater feeing of security the vaccine has given to those who have been vaccinated.

Only 24% of Americans are now 'completely' or 'mostly' isolating themselves from people outside their own household (up 6% from June). Last April, before a significant number had been vaccinated, this figure stood at about 33%. Early in the pandemic, in April, 2020, it was 75%.

Despite this increased appreciation of the seriousness of the current δ variant surge, there has been only a small positive change in avoidance behaviour since June 2021. There has been a nine percentage point increase in people wearing a face-mask outside the home and in avoiding large crowds, a five percentage point increase in avoiding going to public places such as stores and restaurants and in avoiding small gatherings with family or friends, and only a four percentage point increase in avoiding travel on public transport.

Bottom Line

Just a couple of months after it looked like the coronavirus pandemic might be coming to an end, infections have come roaring back in the U.S., fueled by the virus' delta variant, particularly in states with lower vaccination rates. Americans are more likely now than at almost any other point in the pandemic to say the situation is getting worse. And while concern about getting the virus has been growing and coronavirus avoidance behaviors are starting to rise, they remain well below where they were before much of the population was vaccinated.

Jeffrey M. Jones Gallop Senior editor
What seems to be happening here is that, after 18 months of relentless politicization of every aspect of the pandemic as the right-wing tried to accommodate and normalize former President Trump's inept handling of the crisis by trying to minimise it, people are reluctant to be seen to be 'un-American' in taking avoidance measures, even when they accept that the situation is getting worse and will probably continue to worsen for some time.

Some of the change in behaviour can be attributed to the greater feeling of safety that vaccination has given to those sensible enough to have got themselves vaccinated, but much of it has to be laid at the door of the political right. By their reckless attempt to make political capital out of a Trump-induced disaster, the US right is continuing to put their own narrow political self-interest above the health and welfare of the American people. But this itself is the direct consequence of a political philosophy that extols the 'virtues' of greed and selfishness; that places individual liberty above collective responsibility and which promotes the notion that greed and selfishness should be rewarded as 'The American Way'. This has been the relentless message of the American libertarian right for the last few decades, going back to that arch-conservative, Ronald Reagan.

It's a measure of how far to the right the Repugnican Party has moved that, when Barry Goldwater stood against Lyndon Johnson in 1964, Goldwater was regarded as a right-wing extremist. By his death in 1998 he was regarded as a left-leaning liberal, and the Republicans have move further to the right since then, now including neo-Nazi, white supremacists in their ranks.

Consequently, Americans are now dying and will continue to die in their tens of thousands whilst Trumpanzee Repugnicans and their allies in the white supremacist Christian evangelical churches continue to jeer at measures to reduce the severity of the pandemic and right-wing politicians can't afford the political costs of a change of mind and an admission that they got it catastrophically wrong, both in the support for antisocial political philospophies and in their support for Donald Trump.

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