Millennials, who aren’t likely to begin receiving coronavirus vaccines until the summer, are the most comfortable partaking in activities that are considered higher risks for potentially contracting coronavirus.
Their comfort levels are continuing to grow as vaccines are being offered to more Americans and, as such, may be contributing to a false sense of security. The U.S., according to health professionals, is a long way from the 70% to 80% needed for herd immunity, where those who are vaccinated help provide a barrier to community transmission.
Some 45% of millennials feel safe socializing with others in public spaces and 40% feel comfortable returning to movie theaters, according to a Morning Consult survey of more than 2,000 adult Americans conducted from Jan. 21 to Jan. 23.
That’s nearly double the share of baby boomers who feel safe socializing with others (24%) and returning to movie theatres (17%).
“Hearing about friends or parents getting vaccinated can really shift your consumer mentality,” said Joanna Piacenza, senior editor at Morning Consult.
Learn to master your money: Sign up for MarketWatch’s FREE live series to boost your financial IQ
Her team has been tracking consumers’ evolving comfort levels during coronavirus since last April by conducting weekly surveys. The surveys gauge American consumers’ comfort levels dining out, going to live sporting events, shopping in malls, traveling and other leisure activities.
“Young people almost consistently are expressing more comfort in nearly every question that we’ve asked,” she said. While baby boomers and people in older generations “worry enough about COVID that they’re just going to repeat the guidance they’ve received.”
Millennials’ behavior hasn’t come without consequences.
Americans ages 20 to 29 also accounted for the largest share of confirmed coronavirus cases amongst all age groups from June to August, according to a September report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In the short-term, younger Americans have higher chances of recovering from coronavirus, according to research published by Johns Hopkins University.
But it’s unclear what long-term consequences people any age may experience from contracting coronavirus, said Dr. Thomas Russo, chief of infectious disease at the University at Buffalo in New York
“It’s possible that younger people that are getting infected may have taken a hit to their hearts, lungs, brains, kidneys,” he said. “But that message just doesn’t seem to have resonated with them at all either.”
The majority of Americans who have received two doses of either the Pfizer/BioNTech
vaccine live or work in long-term care facilities. But more recently, states have begun to allow millennials who are considered essential workers to get vaccinated.
After they receive their first dose of the vaccine “they may have a false sense of security” that they are well protected from contracting coronavirus, Russo said. However, the 94% to 95% efficacy rates the vaccines exhibited in late-stage trial data are evident two weeks after an individual received their second dose.
Even then, health experts still advise individuals to continue to wear face masks, practice social distancing and avoid activities like indoor dining because of the potential they have to transmit the virus to non-vaccinated populations.