New Yorkers have adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic, carrying masks with them most places and have beome comfortable eating in restaurants or going to the grocery store.
But at the same time, a Siena College poll released Thursday morning found New York residents have become less optimistic that the worst of the crisis, nearly 20 months in, is fully behind us.
The poll comes after a summertime spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations amid the spread of the more contagious delta variant of COVID-19. The vast majority of the most serious cases and deaths are among unvaccinated people, and public health experts have affirmed the vaccine offers strong protections.
Older New Yorkers and people with compromised immune systems are now eligible for booster shots for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Public health officials, as well as elected leaders, are warily eyeing the winter and whether and surge will occur as people head indoors.
The poll found 50% of New Yorkers believe the worst of the pandemic is now over, while 36% believe the worst is yet to come -- a more pessimistic view since pandemic restrictions were lifted in June. At the time, the poll found 68% of New Yorkers believed the worst was over and 17% feared even worse news.
But New Yorkers have also learned to live with the virus: 78% reported thinking about protecting themsleves and their family from getting COVID as they go about their day, 91% are comfortable or very comfortable with going to a grocery store, 73% are comfortable with eating inside a restaurant, 61% are at ease with going to work at the job they had prior to the pandemic, and 57% feel safe attending a movie.
Smaller majorities, 52% and 51% respectively, are comfortable with attending a sporting event or Broadway show.
And wearing a mask is now a part of daily life for nearly all New Yorkers: 91% reported carrying a mask with themselves whenever they leave their home, an increase from 73% in June when many restrictions were lifted for vaccinated people.
“COVID concerns and decisions rest on shoulders and weigh on our minds every day” said SCRI’s Director, Don Levy. “While nearly everyone is comfortable going to the grocery store, over three-quarters think about protecting their family from getting sick some of the time and over 40% think about it all the time. Almost no one leaves home without a mask and four out of every ten of us have had disagreements with family and friends about COVID related issues.”
The poll was conducted from Sept. 29 to Oct. 7, with 394 telephone calls to New York adults and 403 online responses. It has a margin of error of 3.8 percentage points.
The survey's crosstabs can be found here.