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COVID and the return to normal

Richmond, VA  |  October 23, 2020 12:00pm  |  By Tom Lappas

Seven months into the COVID-19 pandemic, respondents to this month’s Richmond Power Poll are split about when life should resume to normal.

In this month’s poll, we asked respondents to describe their personal philosophies about plans for full reopening of businesses, schools and the community in general.

Thirty-four percent said they believed things should continue in the current phase until virus numbers decrease for at least 14 days. In recent weeks, the opposite has been occurring, as virus cases in the region continue to rise.

About 31 percent said they believe it’s time to fully reopen everything, but with strict mask and social-distancing requirements. Twenty-eight percent favor continuing in this phase until a vaccine is available, while 7 percent believe it’s time to reopen everything with limited or no mask or social-distancing requirements.

“For those disbelievers of how deadly this virus really is, consider this: the flu kills approximately 20,000 people a year. This virus has killed more than ten times as many people in barely half a year,” said respondent Alex Nyerges. “Do the month: 20 times deadlier! If that doesn’t convince you, just ask someone who has suffered a death in their family. . . Do your part to help us best this scourge, wear a mask, physically distance, wash your hands. It’s pretty simple. And easy.”

A majority of respondents (62%) believe the virus is “very serious,” but more than a third (35%) said they consider it serious only for those with pre-existing conditions.

None of the respondents said they are quarantining at home except to go out when absolutely necessary. Instead, they were mostly split between remaining home most of the time but going out on occasion for work or pleasure (41%) or remaining home some of the time but going out frequently for work or pleasure (41%).

Ten percent said they don’t have the ability to work from home, while 7% said they’ve resume normal life without any restrictions.

About 28% of respondents said that when they’re out, almost everyone appears to be wearing masks and social-distancing, while more than half (52%) said they’ve observed most people doing so. About 21% said only some people seem to be doing so, though.

Richmond Power Poll is not a scientific poll. This month’s poll had a response rate of 14%.