The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the lives of so many people in different forms. Almost everyone has suffered to a degree, whether it be financial hardship from job loss, mental health decline from lack of human interaction, and even health problems from Covid infections. Individuals have responded to these crises in various ways. The initial temporary solution from the CDC was to wear masks, wash your hands, and practice social distancing. Then when the new vaccines arrived and became available to almost everyone, it left individuals with critical decisions to make for their health and others. Unfortunately, these vital decisions have had a polarizing effect on many people.

With so much fear and uncertainty during these unprecedented times, disagreements are inevitable. Many are divided over how to respond to the ongoing pandemic. Particularly over the subjects of wearing masks, getting vaccinated, and the safety regulations of businesses. Unsettling data in a recent survey stated that a substantial amount of people in the U.S. have lost friendships because of the pandemic. Some friendships ended because of disagreements about pandemic responses, and even more friendships tragically ended because of death from the disease.

YouGov conducted a new survey and asked participants, “Have you lost any friendships because of differences in opinion related to the COVID-19 pandemic?”

As a result, 20 percent of people responded “yes,” 68 percent responded “no,” and the remaining 12 percent replied, “I don’t know.”

A fascinating aspect of these results was the political demographics in those who answered yes. Democrats were substantially more likely than Republicans to have lost a friendship due to disputes about the Covid-19 response. Twenty-four percent of those who identify with the democratic party responded “yes,” while only 15 percent who identified as Republican voters said the same. Individuals affiliating with the independent party were closer to the middle of the two at 18 percent.

The spread of misinformation about the pandemic has fostered a lot of reluctance to get the Covid-19 vaccine. An additional YouGov survey was conducted and showed the considerable difference of how this hesitancy primarily affects Republicans. Participants in the Economist survey were asked “Do you personally know anyone who has died due to complications from Covid-19?”

Eleven percent of Republicans answered “Yes, a family member,” and another 18 percent responded, “Yes, a close friend.”

However, amongst Democrats, a total of 40 percent said they’d lost a close friend or family member to the disease, while 26 percent of Republicans said the same. This result brings in the ongoing debate of whether a patient died “with Covid-19” or “because of Covid-19”.

Public health officials have expressed their increasing concern over many people’s stance against getting vaccinated in addition to forgoing the safety precautions. They warn that unvaccinated people could lead to the virus to mutating into something even more virulent than the Delta variant.

Whether or not someone decides to get vaccinated, it is vital that everyone follows safety protocols for their health and the health of others. We must be kind and considerate of those in the world around us because we never know what someone might be going through. Treating each other with compassion and understanding can help prevent any other friendships from falling out during these trying times.

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