Gallup: Millions fewer Americans social distancing as ‘quarantine fatigue’ sets in

A new Gallup poll has shown that millions of Americans have been self-isolating less, both in states and localities beginning to reopen and those that have not done so. 

In the poll, conducted between May 4 and 10, 58% said they were either completely (17%) or mostly (41%) isolating themselves, the lowest level reported since a peak of 75% the week ending April 5.

The decline was smaller (7%) in states still under stay-at-home orders and larger (13%) in states without such orders, but all states had significant declines.

Gallup noted that the numbers showed that “factors other than one’s own state’s guidelines are evidently behind individuals’ decisions to get back into society.”

More people going to work, shopping, visiting

Only 17% of people in the poll said they were totally self-isolating. Those who were not isolating said they were mostly going to work and shopping for food. 19% said they had gone to someone else’s house.

Gallup senior editor Jeffrey Jones told USA Today that anti-shutdown protests may have changed some people’s views on stay-at-home orders and impacted behavior.

Jones also cited “quarantine fatigue” and allowances for more Americans to return to work as reasons why behaviors may have changed.

“In a lot of these states, even the worst ones, the curve has flattened a little bit,” Jones said, “so maybe people are feeling a little braver about going out than they used to, seeing what’s happened in the course of the disease.”

Fewer Republicans isolating, Democrats hanging on

Still, the only demographic with fewer than half continuing to self-isolate was Republicans, with 45% of that group saying they were doing so. Democrats were still far more likely to stay at home at 72%, the poll said.

Overall, 68% of respondents in states without stay-at-home orders still thought it was better to stay home and avoid public places, however.

Several large states–Texas, Georgia, and Florida–have lifted stay-at-home orders and allowed various businesses like hair salons, restaurants and retail stores to reopen with social distancing restrictions and guidelines. Other states like California, Michigan and Massachusetts are keeping everything shut down for another one to three months even as cases and deaths are dropping in their states in many cases.

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