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As COVID deaths wane and the virus appears to be losing its virulence, restrictions imposed during the height of the pandemic are beginning to be lifted. The latest I&I/TIPP Poll shows that most Americans believe the restrictions are largely being eased for political reasons, not science.
The latest I&I/TIPP Poll shows strong sentiment in favor of ending the limits imposed on Americans’ lives due to the COVID pandemic.
Among those queried, 29% they felt that restrictions were being lifted “too slowly,” while 29% said they were being taken down “at the right time.” Less than a third, or 32%, said they thought restrictions were coming off “too fast.” And 10% were unsure.
In short, just under two-thirds of Americans believe the time for removing restrictions is here. And their wishes are being fulfilled: A recent count by USA Today shows that virtually every state in the U.S., plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, has either eased COVID restrictions or lifted them entirely.
“Restrictions are now ramping down in many places, as most states have fully reopened their economies,” USA Today noted just this weekend.
But there was one other stark finding in this month’s I&I/TIPP questions: We asked whether the lifting of COVID restrictions in recent weeks was “more driven by politics” or “more driven by science.”
“Politics” was the answer for 65% of those responding. A mere 21% answered “science.” And 14% said they weren’t sure.
This perhaps explains the recent alacrity with which many local jurisdictions across America have been dropping their sometimes draconian COVID restrictions on daily life in favor of a return to a more routine, normal existence.
COVID restrictions are no longer politically popular and, indeed, are seen as unnecessary. This seems to contradict recent media reports highlighting people feeling “whipsawed” by the removal of COVID restrictions, even as the media ignore their own complicity in pushing the false narrative of lockdowns as a necessity.
Presumably, I&I/TIPP soundings of public opinion reflect to some degree the political parties’ own internal polling, which shows, among other things, a growing discontent among average Americans with COVID lockdowns and masking mandates. Such limits on Americans’ lives have now dragged on for nearly two years.
A spate of recent research and reporting suggests lockdowns have had a negative impact on people’s health and well-being, especially school kids, despite the infection fatality rate from COVID being only slightly higher than that of a bad influenza outbreak.
And lockdowns occurred for what some epidemiologists and biostatisticians now believe were medically and scientifically questionable reasons. This is particularly true given that statistics show that more than half of all COVID fatalities involved not just viral infection, but two or more comorbidities, or potential contributors to the patient’s death, such as diabetes, severe heart disease and hypertension.
Given Americans’ clearly expressed desire to return to pre-lockdown normal, it’s no surprise that politicians, even those that most supported lockdowns and masking mandates, are now relenting and easing restrictions.
The polling data above come from the I&I/TIPP Poll, which was conducted online from Mar. 2-4 and includes responses from 1,318 adults from across the country. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percentage points.
I&I/TIPP will continue to provide timely and informative data from our monthly polls on this topic and others of major interest to Americans. TIPP has earned a reputation for excellence by being the most accurate pollster for the past five presidential elections.
Terry Jones is editor of Issues & Insights. His four decades of journalism experience include serving as national issues editor, economics editor, and editorial page editor for Investor’s Business Daily.