Fewer than one quarter of respondents across 30 countries believed that a return to normal was possible within six months. An average of 34 percent across all countries believed that pandemic restrictions would still be in place for longer than 12 months. An average of 8 percent thought that life would "never" go back to normal.
Japan, South Korea and several European countries like Spain, Italy and France were the most pessimistic. Potentially fueled by the anger about the Olympic Games going ahead with spectators in the country, two thirds of Japanese said they expected COVID restrictions to last for more than 12 months still. The country also had the highest share of people thinking things would never return to normal at 14 percent behind Hungary's 15 percent.
China was understandably one of the most optimistic countries in the survey, even though only 17 percent said that life was already back to normal even for them. India and Brazil, which both experienced long first waves before only recently starting heavy second waves, were seemingly caught in a more optimistic moment in time by the survey.
Countries with successful vaccination campaigns, like the UK or the U.S. ranked higher than average. 31 percent in the U.S. and 25 percent in the UK thought that the pandemic would only last 6 more months or that life had already normalized.