Some public health experts are warning that the United States may be entering the beginning of a fourth wave of COVID-19. While the vaccination rollout continues, in the past week, new cases only declined in five states. This news is (of course) impacting how Americans are feeling. After several weeks of Americans’ concern about being in public spaces declining, concern levels have spiked back up again. This week, 64% of U.S. adults share some level of concern about being in public. The drastic shift is largely driven by a seven percentage point increase in those “very concerned” week over week.  

Likely due to the above shift, this week, a higher percentage of people expect to practice public health measures for social distancing and self-isolation for more than six months – a three percentage point increase week over week. 

Shopping, Dining, and Travel Comfort 

Overall, it’s clear that Americans have become slightly more cautious returning to normal activities this week. While the number is still relatively high, comfort shopping in stores (for non-grocery items) has decreased; 63% of U.S. adults say they’re comfortable shopping right now. 

After reaching an all-time high last week, comfort going out to restaurants right now decreased sharply by nine-percentage points. There was a simultaneous spike in the percentage of consumers who say they won’t feel comfortable for six months or more. 

A similar trend emerged this week when looking at travel comfort. Comfort traveling right now decreased by four percentage points week-over-week while the “six or more months” response category saw an increase.

Economic Sentiment Shifts In a Semi-Positive Direction
Americans are becoming slightly more positive about the economic outlook right now. This week, there was an uptick in the percentage of people who think it will be easier to find a new job over the next six months.

And more people think the U.S. economy will get better in the next six months.

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