Most Americans – 84% – have heard of the Delta Coronavirus variant, but the number of people who practice safety measures like social distancing and masking continues to decline, according to new poll results released Tuesday by Axios-Ipsos.
One in 10 said they were very familiar with the Delta variant, 38% said they were somewhat familiar, and 36% said they had heard of it but knew almost nothing, according to the survey, which was conducted on Jan. A nationwide representative sample of 1,106 adults was carried out by June 28th.
Concern about the variant varies. Of those who have heard of Delta, 36% each say they are very or very concerned and somewhat concerned. Around a quarter are not worried or not at all. Ipsos notes that “those who are more conscious are more concerned,” for example, the majority of people who say they are very familiar with the Delta variant are either very or somewhat concerned about it.
Although most Americans have heard of this variant, it does not affect behavior when returning to pre-Covid life.
Around two thirds of those surveyed said they had visited friends or relatives or ate out in the past week, comparable to the Axios-Ipsos survey at the beginning of June. One in three or 34% said they had distanced themselves socially in the past week, 10 percentage points less than at the beginning of June. Only a quarter wears a mask at all times when leaving the house. Those who say they wear a mask all or sometimes hit 55% – a 13 point decrease from early June and the lowest percentage since the question was first included in the survey in April.
More than half – 64% – said vacationing posed little or no risk.
Americans believe that going to a July 4th celebration is less risky than it was last year. 14% say it is a high risk, 27% a medium risk, 36% a small risk, and 23% no risk at all. Last year 45% said it was a high risk, 33% as a medium risk, 17% as a small risk and 6% as no risk.
Fewer than half – 43% – said they would quarantine themselves if their state saw an increase in cases, and 57% said they would no longer hold social gatherings outside the home. Ipsos said those numbers were “dramatically lower” when respondents were asked to stop behaviors in light of the second wave in June 2020.
About half of the respondents said that if the number of cases increased, they would reduce their shopping without groceries.
More people said they would limit socializing outside the home if the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or their governor advised them to do so.