Ryan Wilson, who was a victim of the pandemic, was very careful about taking precautions. He wore a mask and did not socialize, but he did more online shopping.

According to the 38-year old father and seafood butcher, Casselberry, Florida’s Casselberry, he felt a little more relaxed after being vaccinated last season. While he had some friends over, he also saw his parents more often and made sure to cover up at places such as the grocery store. He hasn’t changed much in his behavior since he was vaccinated against the virus.

Wilson, like many others, has come to believe that COVID-19 will never completely disappear.

He says, “It will become endemic and it’ll be stuck with us forever.” It’s frustrating but there are things you can do.

Many Americans believe they will “be stuck with” it for the rest of their lives. Only 15% of respondents to a poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research said that they will consider the pandemic over when COVID-19 has been largely eliminated. However, 83% of respondents say that the pandemic will end when COVID-19 is largely eliminated.

According to the poll, 59% of Americans believe it is essential that they are vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to feel secure participating in public activities.

However, 37% of parents believe it is essential that their children get vaccinated against COVID-19. This is despite the fact that there are alarmingly low COVID-19 vaccinations rates among U.S children aged 5-11 years. Even though boosters offer significantly greater protection from COVID-19, especially the Omicron variant, than a 2-shot course of either the Pfizer nor Moderna vaccines, only 47% of Americans believe it is essential.

Wilson in Florida said that he is currently vaccinated but doesn’t intend to get his 5-year old daughter vaccinated as he believes healthy children are less likely to experience cold symptoms.

Colin Planalp, a 36-year old public health researcher, got his 6-year-old son immunized as quickly as possible in Minneapolis. He says that COVID can make children really sick and blames the health authorities for not being more transparent.

While children tend to do better than adults, experts warn that they can still be affected by serious illnesses and long-term effects from the virus.

According to the poll, more Americans are taking precautionary steps against the virus now than ever before the omicron surge.
Overall, 64% say they avoid large groups often or always, while 65% wear face masks around other people, up from 57% in December. Sixty-three percent report that they regularly avoid unnecessary travel, compared to 53% a month ago. This level of precaution is higher than last spring when millions of Americans were fully vaccinated.

Planalp and his wife spent months at home during the pandemic and their son was still home. After getting vaccinated, they were able to travel more to see family and even work part-time at the office.

They increased their precautions when the delta variant arrived. They increased their precautions even further with omicron.

Planalp states, “I have switched to N95 masks as I am no longer confident wearing regular cloth masks and I hardly ever go out anymore.” We have canceled all travel plans. My son has been absent from school for over a week and hopefully he will be able to return in the next week. Who knows?

Planalp doesn’t believe the virus will go away, and isn’t certain it will get any milder: “We are not going to stop with this. It will change over time, and we can’t predict how it will change.

Americans who have been vaccinated are more likely to take precautions. 73% of Americans who have been vaccinated say that they often wear a mask when around others, as opposed to 37% of Americans who are not vaccinated.

David Close, 50 years old, is not vaccinated and says that he has never changed his behavior. He says, “It’s over for me.” “I never entered any pandemic fear.”

Close, who moved from Tampa to Tennessee in May and was living in Vonore since then, claims that he, his wife, and their two children all contracted COVID-19 in October. Close believes his wife was infected at work but the couple didn’t take any precautions to keep her from the rest.

He says, “I got in bed every night and lay down next to her. That’s what I have always done.”

Close experienced a fever of 103 or104 for approximately 24 hours. He felt great after that and was back to normal within 36 hours. Close lost his sense of taste and smell for approximately 10 days.

He says, “I can always make through an illness.” “I don’t fear things like those.”

Study after study shows that vaccination offers additional protection to people who have already had it. This is in contrast to COVID-19 which has killed over 850,000 Americans so far.

Jamie Costello, 57-year-old math teacher and mother to eight children, is not vaccinated in Minersville, Utah. She has suffered severe reactions to flu shots and has since recovered from COVID-19. Costello believes COVID will become as familiar to her as the flu.

She says, “It’s very fast-mutating viruses.” We’ll eventually have to admit that it’s COVID and flu season. It’s there. We have to get back to normal as soon as possible.


Noveck reported from New York, Ellgren from Washington.


The AP-NORC poll, consisting of 1,161 adults, was conducted January 13-18. It used a sample taken from NORC’s probabilistic AmeriSpeak Panel. This panel is meant to represent the U.S. populace. All respondents were within a 3.8 percentage point margin of sampling error.