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More than 40% of U.S. adults have returned to 'pre-COVID-19 normal,' survey says

Visitors to the Gateway Arch leave the National Monument wearing masks in St. Louis on Monday, June 6, 2022. National Park officials are once again requiring visitors to mask up, citing the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in the St. Louis area. The St. Louis area saw over 500 people contracting COVID-19 during the last week of May. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/1834351b6601942e075a712424786e89/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Visitors to the Gateway Arch leave the National Monument wearing masks in St. Louis on Monday, June 6, 2022. National Park officials are once again requiring visitors to mask up, citing the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in the St. Louis area. The St. Louis area saw over 500 people contracting COVID-19 during the last week of May. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 9 (UPI) -- Despite the risks associated with COVID-19, about 40% of Americans say they have returned to normal, "pre-COVID-19 life," according to a survey Tuesday.

The survey conducted by the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center found that 41% of respondents said they have moved back to their prepandemic routines.

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The figure is about 10 points higher than a survey in April asking the same question, and 25% higher than a survey in January.

The survey also showed that nearly 20% think a return to normal is still more than a year away, while 23% say they may never return to a pre-COVID-19 normal.

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"After more than two years of experience with COVID-19 and its effects, the public is largely aware of the nature and risks of infection," Annenberg Public Policy Center Director Kathleen Jamieson said in a statement.

"A consistent percentage does not believe a pre-COVID normal will ever be restored. But a growing number have returned to their pre-COVID life. One can only hope that those in each group have accurately calculated the risks and benefits that their decision entails."

The rise in people returning to prepandemic routines might be surprising because they are aware that the virus remains dangerous.

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Tuesday's survey said that 54% of respondents said they know at least one person who's died of COVID-19, and 31% know someone who's experienced long COVID.

Additionally, 71% said they're aware that long-term harmful effects like neurological problems and fatigue can result from COVID-19 infection -- an increase from 64% in April.

Other survey findings:

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- A majority of respondents (54%) said they rarely or never wear a mask indoors when in the company of people from outside their homes. That figure has more than doubled since January.

- Almost four in five (78%) respondents said they're fully vaccinated, an increase from 74% last November.

- More than half (59%) said they have had one booster shot and 35% said they have had two.

The Annenberg Public Policy Center said the survey was conducted between July 12-18 and involved almost 1,600 U.S. adults. It has a margin of error of 3.3 points.

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