A Monmouth University poll released Dec. 15 found many respondents “worn out” or “angry” with how the pandemic has affected their lives. Support for mask rules and workplace vaccine mandates have also slipped since initially rising in September as the delta variant spread, the poll found.
Officials in some locales are again imposing new restrictions. New York is mandating that public businesses require masks indoors or proof of vaccine. Philadelphia recently instituted a vaccine mandate for patrons to dine indoors at restaurants.
Gov. Phil Murphy said Dec. 13 that no such restrictions are currently in the works – though he has the legal authority to enact such mandates.
“They’re sick of masks, being told what to do in terms of vaccines, probably not thrilled with what they sense is going on in Washington, they may have lost a job or a business that went bust — or a loved one, worse yet,” Murphy told Politico in a November interview.
And pandemic frustration could have contributed to losses for Democrats in New Jersey and Virginia during this past election, suggested Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, which ran the study.
“We just came out of an off-year election in Virginia and New Jersey where blue states did not look so blue,” he said in a statement Wednesday. “The failure to get COVID under control may be playing a role there, especially for independent voters, in a growing sense of frustration with the party in power.”
Six in 10 Americans reported feeling “worn out” by the changes the pandemic has wrought on their daily lives, while just over one-third – 36% said they felt “both worn out and angry,” the poll found.
The dissatisfaction is largely bipartisan, with 64% of Republicans and 63% of Democrats saying they feel “at least a little worn out” by the developments, according to the poll. While fatigue from the pandemic is “no surprise,” it’s the constant wax and wane that has exasperated many Americans, Murray added.
“Every time we try to adjust to a new normal, another variant pops up to put us on guard again,” he continued. “This perpetual unease is having an impact on how we view those charged with handling the pandemic.”
The Monmouth Poll interviewed 808 U.S. adults by phone between Dec. 2 and 6. It has a margin of error or plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
While 63% of Americans in September supported mask mandates and social distancing requirements and 34% opposed them, now 55% expressed support and 42% expressed opposition. Meanwhile, a September poll found 53% of Americans supported vaccine requirements for people to go to work or other public settings, while 47% said they did not like the idea. Now, 46% of Americans support the proposal and 50% are in opposition.
Daily cases and total hospitalizations have increased to their highest levels since the spring, despite 6.34 million people in New Jersey having been fully vaccinated since the first shot was given a year ago to a University Hospital nurse. Public health officials attribute most of the new cases to unvaccinated residents.
Meanwhile, more than 1.73 New Jerseyans million have gotten the Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer or Moderna booster. That means 73% of all residents are fully vaccinated, and 36% of eligible people having gotten the booster.
Despite uncertainty caused by the omicron variant, early trends seem to suggest the new strain, while more contagious, may cause milder symptoms than earlier iterations.
“The particular focus has to be breakthrough cases of severity,” the governor told reports after a Newark event at University Hospital marking the one-year anniversary of the state’s vaccination efforts.
“We’ve got 1,700 hospitalizations today – the peak was 8,270,” Murphy added. A year ago, total hospitalizations neared 4,000 patients, and state health officials expect a January peak of 2,000 patients when combined with the annual flu season.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]