Coronavirus social distancing in US drops significantly: Poll

73% of adults believe staying at home as much as possible is better advice

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Social distancing, a practice implemented by public health officials to keep COVID-19 from spreading, has declined significantly from the height of the pandemic.

Since April, when all but few states had stay-at-home orders in place, the percentage of Americans that were completely or mostly isolating decreased at least marginally each week, including a 10 percentage-point-total decline over the past two weeks, a Gallup Poll revealed Friday.

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By May 4, 58 percent of U.S. adults reported that they are still isolating themselves to some degree, a significant decrease from the high of 75 percent from the week of March 30 to April 5, and 68 percent from April 20 to April 26, according to analysts.

People wearing a face masks for protection against COVID-19 pass a business that has reopened in San Antonio, Thursday, May 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

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The decline comes as many states' stay-at-home orders expired in an effort to reopen the U.S. economy.

However, analysts say the percentage of Americans venturing out behind the confines of their homes increased even while the mandate remained in place.

The number of people isolating themselves in states that maintained stay-at-home orders fell from 71 percent during the week ending April 26, to 64 percent during the first week of May.

In states that loosened the restriction, the number of people staying home decreased from 64 percent to 51 percent during the aforementioned weeks.

Within the last 24 hours alone, an increasing percentage of respondents, both in states with and without orders in place, said they have gone to public places such as work, a grocery store or someone else's home.

When weighing the pros and cons of returning to their daily lives, overall, respondents said that factors such as mandatory quarantines of those with COVID-19 symptoms, a significant reduction in the number of new coronavirus infections or deaths, and improved medical therapies for treating the virus played significant roles in their decision making.

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“While we’ve seen a slide back to late March levels of those saying they have mostly isolated themselves for the past 24 hours, seven in 10 Americans still say that for those who are healthy the best advice is to stay home as much as possible to avoid spreading the virus," Mohamed Younis, Gallup's editor-in-chief, told FOX Business.

Overall, 73 percent of adults believe staying at home as much as possible is better advice.

Results from the poll were based on the responses of more than 4,100 U.S. adults, aged 18 or older, conducted May 4-10.

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