Will Epidemiologists Get Back To “Normal” Before Us?

Filed Under: COVID


On June 8, 2020, The New York Times published research with epidemiologists, predicting when they will feel personally comfortable with a range of everyday activities. This begged the question to us of how their attitudes and expectations would compare to the U.S. general population. Would the doctors be more conservative, or more ready to embrace some form of normal? We tapped our ongoing consumer surveys to find out. 

We found that everyday consumers are more open to doing many routine things sooner than epidemiologists. Still, most people (expert or not) won’t return to “normal” activities for at least another 3-12 months, if ever.

Consumers report a willingness to return to restaurant dining, religious services, and mask abandonment sooner than the doctors. But, they are more hesitant than the experts about seeing a doctor for a nonurgent appointment or vacationing overnight within driving distance.

And, one-quarter of our everyday consumers say they won’t ride public transit ever again.

Many consumers do expect to return to most normal activities within the year. However, traveling on a plane, attending big events, and riding public transit are not likely to happen within the year. On the other hand, the doctors quoted in the NYT article are more willing to hop on a flight or public transit within the year.

So, the big question on everyone’s minds is, when will the new normal be here? We don’t know the answer to that, but we do know it’s not here yet! Aside from haircuts and bringing in mail, the majority of consumers feel that the other activities asked about are still 3-12 months out for them.

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