Health experts are cautiously optimistic as coronavirus cases decline in the United States. The average number of daily new coronavirus cases in the country fell below 100,000 on Friday for the first time in months, but officials continue to urge that, a year into this thing, caution is (and will continue to be) key.

After increasing the prior week, the percentage of Americans who indicated they are concerned about being in public spaces right now decreased in the most recent week’s worth of data.

This week, people’s expectations for needing to practice coronavirus mitigation measures have also shifted a bit in a more optimistic direction. The percentage of U.S. adults who think they’ll have to practice social distancing and self-isolation for six or more months decreased slightly. What’s notable is that experts say the gradual decline in numbers of confirmed COVID cases is not due to vaccinations at this point, it’s due to people following the mitigation practices still in place by the CDC. 

As a result of somewhat rosier outlooks this week, both comfort shopping in non-grocery stores and comfort dining at restaurants increased to the highest points we’ve seen since mid-October.

Shopping in Stores

In terms of who is hitting the shops, 7-in-10 young adults (ages 18-34) are comfortable with the idea of shopping in stores right now, but the same certainly can’t be said for older adults.

Other than age, income is one of the biggest factors in determining whether someone is comfortable with shopping in stores right now. Those in the highest income bracket are the most comfortable doing so now, at a clip of nearly 70%.

Interestingly, those who know someone with a COVID diagnosis are more likely to be comfortable with in-store shopping right now. 

On the topic of income and jobs, and as the plans for the next round of coronavirus aid is still being finalized in Congress, CivicScience data still shows more than one-quarter of U.S. adults say they’re getting paid less or not at all as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.