Kissing mistletoe is back! Seven in 10 Americans say Covid-19 won’t disrupt their lives as they enjoy a ‘carefree vacation’, polls say and 57% of businesses are hosting in-person, mask-free parties
- 86 percent say the US is in better shape than a year ago
- 39 percent say the pandemic is over and 70 percent say it’s almost over
- Yet about a third in the US still regularly worry about the virus and masks
- Office parties are making a comeback, with more than half of companies hosting in-person parties
- They are an essential morale booster for companies struggling to retain employees, says Andrew Challenger
- Yet the US has seen an increase in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations since Thanksgiving
- The increase is “particularly concerning” because of more indoor gatherings, says the CDC’s Rochelle Walensky
Maskless revelry, office parties, and even kisses under the mistletoe are making a comeback as polls show Americans say by wide margins that the pandemic won’t disrupt their lives this holiday season.
After the wave of the Omicron variant that rocked last year’s festivities, this Christmas will be the first ‘Covid worry-free holiday’ period since the pandemic began in early 2020, according to Cliff Young of Ipsos surveys.
From the group questionnaire of more than 1,100 Americans, 86 percent said the country was in better shape than it was a year ago, and 70 percent said the pandemic largely did not disrupt their daily lives.
Still, the U.S. has seen an increase in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations since Thanksgiving, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says, and hospital capacity is being stretched thin by epidemic levels of flu and RSV.
A survey of more than 1,100 US adults found that 86 percent said the country was in better shape than a year ago
The office Christmas party is making a comeback this year as Americans say by wide margins the pandemic won’t disrupt their lives this holiday season
“Americans may be concerned about prices or the inevitable family strife over politics, but few are concerned about Covid-19,” the pollsters said in a statement.
Half of Americans say their lives are now largely back to normal, two in three went out to eat or meet with friends and family in the past week, and only a quarter took steps to avoid exposure to the pathogen.
Still, about a third of respondents said they were well aware of the state of the public health emergency, which typically gets worse in the winter months when people congregate indoors, and usually took measures such as masking.
Americans generally support the government’s continued efforts to fight the virus, but a significant minority of 44 percent say America has already spent enough on the fight against Covid and it’s time to stop and move on.
Work Xmas celebrations return this year. About 57 percent of companies plan personal celebrations, up from just 27 percent a year ago
The office Christmas party has also started again after a two-year hiatus. About 57 percent of companies plan an in-person celebration, up from just 27 percent a year ago, according to a survey. questionnaire from Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
Company director Andrew Challenger said the return of Yule festivities was a welcome morale boost for companies struggling to hire talent, as many staffers were “battling burnout” and “on the verge of shutting down.”
Still, the number of companies celebrating this year is still down from the 75 percent it did before the 2019 pandemic. This year, some bosses will encourage hand-washing and hygiene rules or limit attendance.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky on Monday warned of a post-Thanksgiving surge in respiratory illness in the US, particularly flu hospitalizations, and urged people to stay up to date on their vaccinations.
Hospitals are already under pressure, with epidemic levels of RSV and flu in the country, as well as Covid, forming a ‘triple epidemic’. The CDC says Covid hospitalizations are up 27 percent week over week to 4,650.
“The rise is particularly concerning as we enter the winter months, when people are congregating indoors with less ventilation,” Walensky said during a phone call with reporters, adding that the elderly are at particular risk of transmission during family gatherings.
About a third of US adults say they stay informed about the state of the public health emergency and usually take measures such as masking