It’s been a heavy couple of weeks in the United States, and the latest CivicScience data clearly reflects that. Concern about being in public spaces increased by five percentage points this week. This is an indicator that we haven’t seen move too much as the pandemic drags on and cases rise. Further data show it’s not likely due to the pandemic or concern about catching the virus, as the percentage of those who self-report knowing someone with COVID has remained mostly unchanged. 

Additional data show that other factors, such as the new-to-the-headlines monkeypox virus and recent mass shootings, may be playing a larger role in the increasing concern we’re seeing this week.

To start, 45% of U.S. adults surveyed report feeling concerned about the spread of the monkeypox virus.

Another factor likely contributing to rising concern about being in public is the sharp spike in concern about gun violence following two recent mass shootings (up seven percentage points since mid-May).

In fact, those who have felt “very concerned” about gun violence and/or crime and violence in their community over the last two weeks are also more likely to feel “very concerned” about being in public spaces right now.

There’s also been a significant decline in emotional well-being this week as per the CivicsScience Well-Being Index, as well as a decreased desire for Americans to want to leave their house.

Comfort resuming normal activities has stayed the same or slightly decreased (-1pp) across all measured categories this week.

As the height of summer travel season is now just about upon us, intent to travel in the next month slightly increased this week by two percentage points, remaining relatively high despite concerns over safety and inflation.