WASHINGTON (NewsNation) — In the event of another COVID surge, Americans would largely support renewed mask mandates, vaccine mandates, and even new stay-home orders, according to a new NewsNation/Decision Desk HQ poll released Wednesday.
Voters’ fears of the COVID pandemic have remained virtually unmoved since last month, with 63.2% saying they were at least somewhat concerned about the pandemic, a negligible change of one point since late March. When asked which was a bigger threat—COVID, inflation, unemployment, or crime—20% indicated they still feared the virus’s threat.
“Whether you’re Republican or Democrat, whether you’re small-government or big-government, you expect a certain level of competency from your state, local, and federal government on (virus response), and I think you’re seeing this directly in some of these poll numbers,” said Decision Desk HQ adviser Scott Tranter.
This comes as many of the final federal COVID-19 restrictions were melting away. On Monday, a Florida judge said the CDC overstepped its authority by enacting a national mask mandate on planes, trains, and in transit hubs, triggering an end to mandates across the country. On Tuesday, though, the Department of Justice said it would appeal that ruling if the CDC makes a request.
At the same time, cases are beginning to rise nationally once again, caused by a mutant called BA.2, which is thought to be about 30% more contagious. The new variant prompted a renewed lockdown in Shanghai, China, resulting in global supply chain issues and severe food shortages. Closer to home, on Monday, Philadelphia became the first major U.S. city to reinstate its indoor mask mandate after reporting a sharp increase in coronavirus infections.
The CDC said Tuesday that 90% of all COVID cases in the U.S. were made up of the highly contagious omicron sub-variant, and Reuters reported that the seven-day moving average of cases in the U.S. stood at 34,972 as of April 16, up 23.4% from the previous week.
Against that backdrop, large majorities of those polled indicated support for renewed pandemic restrictions in the event of a new COVID surge:
- About 64% at least somewhat favored new mask mandates
- 59% said they’d at least somewhat support vaccine mandates
- About 52% said they could get behind new stay-home orders that included ordering nonessential businesses to be shut down
As of Tuesday, the CDC reported that 66% of the population has been “fully” inoculated with either a shot of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine or two shots of the Moderna or Pfizer BioNTech vaccine. Only 45% of the country has received its first booster doses, with nearly 50% of the eligible population opting out.
There have been more than 80.7 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. and more than 989,000 confirmed deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.