Omicron finally began its retreat, and consumers are taking notice. CivicScience tracking shows that concern about being in public spaces decreased for the first time since before the holidays.

As case numbers start to decline, Americans got even more encouraging news last week when free at-home tests became available to order via the USPS website. According to a survey, nearly a quarter of U.S. adults have already placed an order for these rapid tests offered by the U.S. government, with an additional 22% reporting that they plan to, and 17% intend to if the need arises.

It’s no surprise that so many have ordered the tests, as data show that trust of the results has increased. Since late November, people are much more likely to trust the accuracy of at-home COVID-19 tests.

Parents over-index compared to their counterparts in having already ordered the tests, likely due in part to the testing rules many schools and childcare providers require.

Many of these at-home kits have expiration dates, and consumers are reminded to check them before administering. Forty percent of Americans said they would not trust the results of an expired testing kit, but many are not sure. Eleven percent say they would trust the results for up to a week after a test has expired.

In addition to making free tests available, the government-issued free mask rollout has begun. High quality N95 masks will be given out for free at participating pharmacies and Americans will be able to pick them up. CivicScience data show that likelihood to take advantage of this program – much like mask wearing in general – is polarizing. While over half of those surveyed indicated that they’re at least somewhat likely to opt for the free masks, more than 30% of the population said they are not at all likely to do so. 

With many tools available, Americans are one step closer to improving the course of the pandemic. Time will tell how – or if – these policies and practices continue, and what effect they have overall.