People are leaving their homes to engage in social activities at growing rates as fears of the receding pandemic dissipate and people feel more comfortable loosening social distancing practices.

Outside-the-home social activities at highest levels since pandemic began as fears dissipate

Cassidy Morrison June 10, 11:00 PM June 10, 11:00 PM

People are leaving their homes to engage in social activities at growing rates as fears of the receding pandemic dissipate and people feel more comfortable loosening social distancing practices.

“Two-thirds of Americans (66%) saw family and friends in the last week and almost as many (61%) went out to eat,” according to Ipsos polling conducted from June 4 through 7. “Both of these figures are up three percentage points from before Memorial Day and represent the greatest level of out of home activity since the start of the pandemic.”

At the same time, 30% view returning to their pre-pandemic life as risky, down 13 points from early May. Less than 44% of people continued social distancing in the last week, at about the same rate as the weekend leading up to Memorial Day.

Meanwhile, daily vaccinations have declined since reaching a high of about 3.4 million doses administered on average in mid-April. The Biden administration initiated a monthlong mobilization campaign last week to meet its goal of getting 70% of U.S. adults at least one shot. The administration’s sprint to the finish line will include new incentives for people to get their shots, as well as easier access to them. The administration will provide free child care services this month to make it easier for parents and caretakers to get vaccinated. President Joe Biden also announced that pharmacies would be open every Friday night in June to provide shots to those who want them around the clock.

But falling vaccination rates have spelled danger for the country’s odds of meeting that goal. Biden administration officials conceded that the administration may not, in fact, meet that goal, but officials will keep pushing people to get the highly effective vaccines.

“If you don’t meet the precise goal and you fall short by a few percent, that doesn’t mean you stop in your effort to get people vaccinated,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert said Wednesday. “We want to reach 70% of the adult population by the Fourth of July. I believe we can. I hope we will. And if we don’t, we’re going to continue to keep pushing.”

Indeed, a rough analysis by the Washington Examiner finds that if the current daily vaccination rate continues, about 68% of adults will be at least partially vaccinated by July 4.

Roughly 64% of adults have received at least one dose of vaccine, and more than 53% have been fully vaccinated, meaning they have received both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna shots or the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Still, vaccine holdouts remain steadfast against getting the shots, the polling shows. Roughly 1 in 5 reported they were not at all likely to get the shots, a figure that has remained relatively consistent since late January.

People who object to the vaccine have also shown their willingness to ditch social distancing. Ipsos shows that the share of vaccinated adults willing to eat out, 63%, was about the same as unvaccinated adults at 58%.

The wave of eager adults getting their shots in March and April has produced results in the form of steadily declining case rates overall in the United States. For example, the average number of cases reported during the week ending June 9 was about 15,000, compared to a weekly average of more than 71,000 on April 13, according to New York Times tracking.

Deaths and hospitalizations due to COVID-19 have also fallen 20% and 22% over the past two weeks, respectively. In fact, deaths due to COVID-19 are down more than 90% since early January during the winter surge, according to provisional mortality data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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