Power Poll: Georgia leaders on COVID-19′s latest

Community leaders across Georgia haven’t just been giving lip service to the battle against COVID-19, they have been rolling up their sleeves and taking the vaccine.

In a new Georgia Power Poll, 98% of participating business, civic, and community leaders said they are fully vaccinated against the virus – nearly twice the rate of Georgians as a whole.

The poll was taken of leaders in Atlanta, Athens, Augusta, Columbus, Macon, and Savannah from Nov. 15 until noon on Nov. 19, just as some states – but not Georgia – were reporting new spikes in cases.

The survey was emailed to 911 leaders, 140 or about 15% of whom responded. Of the 2% who said they were not vaccinated, half said they had concerns about the vaccines’ safety and half said they didn’t feel at significant risk of infection or illness.

According to recent data from the Georgia Department of Public Health, about half of Georgians have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The virus is blamed for at least 25,000 deaths in Georgia and about 767,000 nationally, to date. As of Nov. 18, some states were reporting spikes in cases, with the most pronounced increase being in the Northeast and Upper Midwest.

Power Poll, from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, does not have the precision of a scientific poll. It’s only meant to provide insight into the thinking of influential leaders across the state.

The newest of the monthly poll of local leaders again focuses on the pandemic, which has had unprecedented impact on the U.S. economy, health, schools and lives.

Community leaders who responded to the poll are divided on just where Georgia is in terms of returning to normalcy. About 39% said they are hopeful the worst is over, while 41% said the current lull could be followed by another surge in infections. Another 20% said they’re uncertain what’s ahead.

Still, about two-thirds indicated they don’t have any serious worries about the pandemic as they head into the year-end holiday season and the likelihood of more social gatherings indoors. The remaining 36% described themselves as in full COVID-19 prevention mode, taking substantial measures to protect themselves and others.

Here are more details:

Power Poll questions and responses from Nov. 15-19

1. Georgia recently marked a sobering milestone of 25,000 confirmed dead here from COVID-19. With coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths now declining, where do you believe we are in the pandemic?

39% -- The worst is behind us, hopefully for good.

41% -- We may only be in a lull now, with another surge in infections possible.

20% -- I honestly don’t know.

With the year-end holidays nearly at hand, and indoor socializing likely to rise as temperatures drop, how big of a concern is the pandemic for you at this point?

14% -- It’s a minimal worry, if even that.

36% -- I’m still in full COVID-prevention mode, taking substantial measures to keep myself and others safe.

50% -- The improvement in infection and illness statistics has me feeling confident intaking minimal, if any, precautions this holiday season.

Georgia’s slowly rising rate of residents fully vaccinated against COVID-19 recently hit 50 percent. Given that statistic, two more-personal-than-usual questions: Are you fully vaccinated against COVID -19?

Yes – 98%

No – 2%

If you answered “No” to being vaccinated, why haven’t you taken the COVID-19 shot?

50% -- I don’t believe I’m at significant personal risk of severe infection or illness.

50% -- I worry about the safety of the vaccine.

0% -- I believe that opting out of the vaccination push is a matter of personal freedom.

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