Americans are going out more and wearing masks less, according to new poll results from Axios-Ipsos published on Tuesday.
Pandemic-high numbers of Americans have gone out to eat in the last week: 54% – a six-point increase since the last poll, and the first the number has been above 50%. Fifty-nine percent say they visited friends and family in the last week, according to the poll, which was conducted May 7 to 10, and based on a nationally representative sample of 1,078 US adults.
These numbers are similar in vaccinated and unvaccinated people, with a majority of both groups saying they have done these things.
Behavior around mitigation measures is also changing. More than half of those polled – 56% – are still social distancing, but this is down eight points from the beginning of last month, and 14 points from two months ago. The number of people wearing masks whenever they leave the house is at 58%, down from 63% since the last poll, and at the lowest point since June.
The decrease in masking is primarily driven by vaccinated people; 65% are wearing a mask whenever they leave the house, compared with nearly three-quarters last month. Vaccinated people are still more likely to wear a mask, however, with only 46% of unvaccinated Americans wearing one whenever they leave their home.
Inside public spaces, 58% of respondents are still wearing a mask at all times. Just over 1 in 10 say they’re wearing one at all times when they spend time with people they know outdoors, or with fully vaccinated family and friends specifically.
This comes as 43% of respondents think that returning to their normal pre-coronavirus life is a large or moderate health risk, down from 52% three weeks ago. Americans are also saying that some normal pre-coronavirus activities carry smaller risks.
Sixty percent, for example, thought that going to a salon, barbershop or spa carried small or no risk, compared to 54% in the last poll. There were also fewer respondents that thought going to a sporting event, going on vacation, working in an indoor office or eating at a restaurant carried a large or moderate health risk.
Summer plans were made in the last week by 31% of the respondents, including 39% of parents with a child under 18 years old.
The poll also found that Americans’ emotional wellbeing and mental health were improving, with 18% saying their emotional wellbeing improved over the last week – a six point increase since the last poll and an all-time high during the pandemic. Sixteen percent said their mental health had improved, compared with 12% who said it worsened over the last week – the first time that more people said it had improved than worsened since the question was first asked.
There was no difference based on vaccination status, and younger Americans were more likely to say their mental health had improved over the last week.