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Most New Yorkers think worst of pandemic is over, poll shows

New York coronavirus
New York coronavirus
Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 9:30 AM EDT
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LOUDONVILLE, New York (WWNY) - Are the dark days of the COVID-19 pandemic over?

Most New Yorkers seem to think so, yet half believe there will be a resurgence of the illness in the fall and close to half are worried they or a loved one will catch the disease.

Those are results of a poll released Tuesday by the Siena College Research Institute that shows New Yorkers’ attitudes toward the pandemic.

Sixty-eight percent think the worst is over, while only 17 percent say it’s yet to come. That compares to 34 percent who thought the worst was over at the end of last summer.

Eighty-four percent are comfortable inviting friends to their homes, 80 percent would go to a beach or lakefront, 78 percent would be fine with going on vacation in the U.S., and 77 percent would eat indoors at a restaurant.

At the same time, 47 percent are somewhat or very worried that they or a family member will become sick with the coronavirus.

“At the end of last summer, only 38 percent said that they were comfortable dining indoors in a restaurant, today 77 percent do,” research director Don Levy said. “The pandemic may be on the run and with 73 percent telling us that they have been vaccinated, many New Yorkers are getting back to who and what they enjoy, but the memories of this dark period won’t soon be left completely behind.”

Almost half – 49 percent – say they’ve gained weight, while 38 percent have gotten in better shape. Fifty-one percent have felt depressed during the pandemic while 44 percent say that they have developed a new interest or hobby.

“As most New Yorkers emerge from the coronavirus nightmare, some heavier, some in better shape and some dealing with mental health effects, most are comfortable spending time with friends, going to the beach, or finally taking a vacation,” Levy said.

Heading into the fall, slightly more than three-quarters – 76 percent – believe many New Yorkers will continue to work remotely and 71 percent expect public schools to reopen to full, in-person instruction without masks.

There’s still some pessimism heading into colder weather: 50 percent think it’s likely the state will experience a resurgence of COVID-19 infections.

“Looking to the fall, New Yorkers provide a mixed bag of hopefulness, concern and a recognition of a new world as we try to put the worst of the coronavirus behind us,” Levy said. “Sixty-nine percent think it somewhat or very likely that in the fall for many of us, it will feel like COVID-19 is over but simultaneously, half anticipate a resurgence.

The poll was conducted June 16-29 among 809 New Yorkers. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.

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