Variants Dash Hope: Americans Believe COVID Is Here For the Long Haul

This time last year we were still largely in lockdown, forgoing holidays with family, staying away from indoor social activities, masking and social distancing when we did go out.  Yet, the vaccine was on the horizon and many of us thought that would be a game-changer.

As we turn over another year, it’s always helpful to take stock, looking back to see where we have made progress, and where we have not.  On the one hand, a lot of good has happened this year:


Yet, it has also been a very rocky year.

  • At the beginning of 2021, just 11% of Americans were satisfied with the way things were going in the U.S., and Gallup’s consumer confidence index was negative 21.
  • But, by Summer 2021 consumer optimism was returning. In June 2021, 89% of Americans said that the coronavirus situation in the U.S. was getting better, and just 17% were concerned about getting the virus, down from 51% in January.
  • Unfortunately, this optimism was short lived, first by the spread of the Delta variant, and now by fears of the new Omicron variant.


In fact, Gallup’s data show that concerns about coronavirus rise and fall with new variants.

Covid hopes and fears chart

The spread of new variants, along with rising inflation and other factors, have erased many of the gains in consumer confidence seen this summer.  By the fall of 2021, consumer confidence was in the red again.

Consumer confidence chart

Today, most Americans believe that coronavirus is here to stay.


expect coronavirus to be here
through 2022 or longer

At the beginning of 2021, many of us thought that the vaccine rollout would help us gain control over the virus and, consequently, the economy.  While progress has been made on both fronts, it has not been enough.

After a rocky year, most Americans don’t think we’ll return to normal any time soon and have resigned themselves to COVID being around for the long haul.

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