A new poll shows that half of Wyomingites are worried the worst is yet to come for the spread of COVID-19 in the state. That number is up 11 percentage points since October and 21 points since September, according to a new poll by the Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center (WYSAC).
The results come as the state regularly tops its own record of active cases and hospitalizations.
"It seems we're observing a pretty significant trend in increased anxiety surrounding COVID-19 spread in Wyoming," said WYSAC Senior Research Scientist Brian Harnisch. "We haven't seen levels this high since we first started measuring these data points in March."
While there's a growing concern about the spread, it seems more people are also following safety precautions, Harnisch said.
"We're seeing an increase in mask use reported, up to 69 percent in November saying they sometimes or always wear a mask in indoor public places. And that correlates the levels of self-reported anxiety," he said.
The poll also shows that over 60 percent of Wyomingites support a local mask mandate, as communities like Laramie, Cheyenne, Teton County and the Wind River Reservation have adopted them. Around 30 percent of respondents say they strongly oppose such an ordinance.
WYSAC began polling residents on their behaviors and attitudes related to the pandemic in March when the virus ramped up in the state. Harnisch said they now have a website where all the data is readily available.
"We thought it would be a great opportunity to put together a centralized hub for all that data so residents, reporters, health officials and government officials could come to one place, and if they are looking for a particular data point, find it easily," he said.
Harnisch added that collecting this information now could be useful not only throughout the pandemic but also once it's passed.
"It's important to look back and see how people felt about things like vaccinations, face mask use, and see if those opinions changed as there were advancements in the field whether it's vaccines becoming available to research on the efficacy of mask use," he said.
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