Our multidisciplinary research reveals that, during the COVID-19 crisis, Americans fall into one of three distinct patterns of perspectives and behaviors—we call them mindsets—that you’ve probably noticed in your everyday life.

What's in a mindset?

  • Protectors feel anxious and act with concern
  • Pragmatists feel calm and act with balance
  • Prevailers feel skeptical and act with confidence
graph of covid mindsets

Here's how the three different mindsets are distributed in the population.

Meet the Protector

P R O T E C T O R  T R A I T S

  • 15% less likely to trust others to distance (compared to general population)
  • 50% more likely to come from a vulnerable household (compared to general population)
  • Skew older (more Baby Boomers), more female, and more urban/suburban

Meet Protectors, Maizah and Evan.

Protectors are laser-focused on public health. They are both concerned for their own safety and take active steps towards protecting the health of others.

Meet the Pragmatist

P R A G M A T I S T  T R A I T S

  • 40% more likely to trust health institutions to define a safe path to normal (compared to general population)
  • 20% more likely to fly on an airline with a safety/cleanliness certification (compared to general population)
  • Skew younger (more Millennials/Gen Z), more female, and more suburban

Meet Lisa, a Pragmatist.

Pragmatists are invested in the public good with an emphasis on minimizing health risks, yet are open-minded and balanced with the economic tradeoff.

Meet the Prevailer

P R E V A I L E R  T R A I T S

  • 2X more likely to trust businesses in their area as opposed to their own employer (compared to general population)
  • 30% more likely to prefer banking in person, yet 3X more likely to switch their bank as the crisis subsides (compared to general population)
  • Skew toward middle age (more Millennials/Gen X), more male, and slightly more rural


Meet Michael, a Prevailer.

Prevailers are less impacted by COVID-19 disruptions with a tendency to prioritize the economy, are proud of personal freedoms, and support for local businesses.

Redefining connection

From the massive disruptions caused by the COVID-19 crisis, organizations have an opportunity to become more human—with value systems and genuine emotions. By understanding the constantly evolving human condition, evaluating their own values to better align with the values of their humans, and responding in an authentic way, they can be more successful in this new world.

Through our Human Experience in Times of Uncertainty Survey we learned the following:


of people have tried a new virtual experience since March


want virtual experiences to feel more human


believe virtual social gatherings are inferior to the real thing

Take our research to go


Time to double down on humanity

Respond, Recover, & Thrive: Aligning with Human Values

Navigating Uncertainty: the Protector, the Pragmatist, and the Prevailer

Want to learn more? Reach out to a human

Chief Experience Officer, US Customer Strategy and Applied Design Lead
Deloitte Digital

Customer-led Marketing
Deloitte Consulting LLP

Head of Strategy
Heat + Deloitte Digital
Deloitte Consulting LLP