COVID Personal Precautions on the Decline

Worries about being infected with the coronavirus remain low, and Americans are taking fewer personal precautions than they were earlier in the year.

March 29, 2022

Public concern about the coronavirus continues to decrease. Worries over infection remained at the same rate as February, after decreasing from the month prior, and Americans are taking fewer personal precautions than they were earlier in the year. Vaccinated adults remain more concerned and are taking more precautions than their unvaccinated peers. 

Just 25% of Americans are extremely or very worried about themselves or a family member being infected with COVID-19, while 43% are not at all or not too worried. This is similar to a month ago and down from 36% who were worried in January during a spike of cases due to the omicron variant.

While unvaccinated Americans remain less worried about an infection than those who are vaccinated, they are more concerned than they were a month ago.

Americans report taking fewer personal precautions than at almost any point in the past year. Fewer than half are always or often avoiding nonessential travel, staying away from large groups, and wearing a face mask outside of their homes for the first since February 2021. And just a third are avoiding others as much as possible.

Vaccinated Americans are still more likely than unvaccinated adults to stay away from large groups (51% vs 32%), wear a face mask outside of their homes (49% vs 26%), and avoid nonessential travel (44% vs 29%). Few Americans, regardless of vaccination status, are avoiding others as much as possible (33% of vaccinated adults and 29% of unvaccinated adults).

Older adults are more likely than younger adults to take these precautions, other than avoiding other people as much as possible. About half of adults age 60 and older are still avoiding nonessential travel, staying away from large groups, and wearing a face mask outside their home.

The nationwide poll was conducted March 17-21, 2022 using the AmeriSpeak® Panel, the probability-based panel of NORC at the University of Chicago. Online and telephone interviews using landlines and cell phones were conducted with 1,082 adults. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4.0 percentage points.

Suggested Citation: AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.  (March 2022).“COVID personal precautions on the decline” [https://apnorc.org/projects/worries-about-being-infected-with-the-coronavirus-remain-low-and-americans-are-taking-fewer-personal-precautions/]

Expert Contacts

Jennifer Benz

Deputy Director
Public Affairs and Media Research
(617) 316-3702

Amelia Burke-Garcia

Director of Digital Strategy and Outreach
Public Health
(301) 634-5437

Marjorie Connelly

Senior Fellow
Public Affairs and Media Research
(212) 541-9878