Americans are starting to worry more and more about the COVID-19 pandemic, even as cases begin to rise again in some parts of the country and White House officials have warned that the country could face a harsh fall and winter.
A Gallup poll on Wednesday showed that only 31% of Americans said they were “somewhat concerned” or “very concerned” about contracting COVID-19, which is a 3% decrease from the February survey version. Within this group, 17 percent of Americans said they were “very concerned” about Covid, a drop of 5 percent.
The research points to the changing situation of the virus as America approaches the summer months. In previous years, warm weather months were accompanied by large and devastating spikes of viruses. However, the successful COVID-19 vaccine and improved application with the milder nature of the Omicron variant and its substrains are more comfortable with the virus this year.
However, the number of cases and deaths in America is increasing as spring turns into summer. The country records 79,609 cases per day, up 30 percent from last week, and 526 deaths per day, up 38 percent.
The survey was conducted in mid-April, when the trend of low cases that had been present until then for nearly three months after the mid-January peak of the Omicron winter highs began to reverse.
Participants were asked about their feelings about the pandemic and the virus and what kind of personal control strategies they used – or ignored – in their daily lives.
The study also found that 64 percent of Americans believe the epidemic is “improving.” At the time of the survey, cases had fallen to just under 30,000 per day, making it one of the lowest levels since the pandemic began in March 2020.
About 21 percent of Americans said they thought the situation was about the same, and only 12 percent thought it was getting worse. The last time very few Americans thought the situation was getting worse was in the summer of 2021, when cases were at an all-time low before the delta variable exploded.
These good feelings also led to some behavioral changes. Only 17 percent of Americans report that they are still distancing themselves from society, the lowest point of the epidemic so far. Just under a third of Americans said they avoided large crowds, and a fifth reported avoiding public places and only 15 percent avoided small gatherings.
Those numbers are also the lowest in the epidemic, according to a report from Gallup.
Despite shifts in social distancing, Americans seem to be sticking with masks. The survey found that half of Americans still wear face masks in public. While 50 percent is also a low percentage of the epidemic, it is much higher than the number of people concerned with the virus.
Changing sentiments about Covid is a positive sign for the future, but it also comes as officials warn that more threats related to the pandemic are emerging around the world.
Officials report that the spread of the new Covid 2.12.1 BA strain – the most contagious version of the virus that US health officials have sequenced – is increasing.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Tuesday that the strain, which was first detected in New York last month, now accounts for 42.6 percent of serial Covid cases in America. It’s an increase from the 33 percent of cases done in the previous week.
This newly discovered version of the virus is a BA.2 “ghost” substrain, which remains the dominant strain accounting for 56 percent of cases. The new strain is believed to have a 27 percent growth advantage over its predecessor and is likely to overtake the country’s dominant strain by the end of the month.
Each individual Covid case sequenced by the CDC falls under the umbrella of the Omicron variant, as the Delta variant has now been completely eradicated by its successor.
The BA.1 virus strain, which has caused record outbreaks of cases worldwide during the winter, now accounts for only 0.6 percent of cases in the United States, where the variant has almost completely surpassed it.
While the BA 2.12.1 strain took some time to replace the ghost variant as the nationally dominant species, it is already responsible for two out of every three cases in the New York and New Jersey region of the United States, the CDC reports.
It is the only region in the country where the breed predominates. It is also the part of the country where officials first discovered this new species in the United States
New species account for nearly half of the cases, 48 percent, in the Mid-Atlantic region of Virginia, Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania, according to the CDC.
They also make up more than 40 percent of cases in New England and the deep south of America.
Like previous strains, this version of the virus appears to be making its way across the country from east to west, with low prevalence in areas west of the country.
In the Midwest, the variant accounts for about one in three cases, as does the Great Plains states outside the West. BS 2.12.1 represents less than one in four cases in both the Southwest and Western Pacific, and only 13 percent of cases in the Pacific Northwest.
Midwestern Plains is a remote area, with the alternative accounting for 46 percent of cases in states like Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri.
Newer versions of Omicron may also be on the way to America
There are growing concerns about virus strains BA.4 and BA.5, which are now beginning to appear in South Africa, leading to another increase in the country. The country was also the first to suffer from the original release of Omicron in late November.
Last month, the World Health Organization announced it was officially monitoring the two strains of the virus as potential concerns.
A prepress study from South Africa also found that these two variants may have the ability to evade immunity to a virus caused by a previous infection.
That could be a major concern for officials, because the massive spread of omicrons during the winter months — which gives many Americans immunity to the virus — will no longer protect people, opening the door to another big wave.
With these new threats, the White House fears that America will find itself in a dark fall and winter in the second half of 2022.
A senior Biden administration official told CNN that the White House currently expects about 100 million cases of the virus during the coming fall and winter months — the time of year when new cases were recorded during the two pandemic years.
By comparison, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, about 40 million cases of Covid were reported in America from September 1 to February 28. While this is likely to be a serious downturn due to the highly contagious but mild nature of the Omicron variant, it means the White House believes the number of cases could reach higher levels this year than last year.
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