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Americans Are More Worried About Omicron Variant Than Delta, Poll Finds

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Topline

A broad majority of U.S. adults are involved concerning the lately recognized omicron variant of the coronavirus and concern it should convey a brand new surge in Covid-19 circumstances, a brand new Harris ballot finds, surpassing individuals’s fears concerning the delta variant over the summer season—even earlier than the variant has been formally detected within the U.S. and as a lot about it stays unknown.

Key Information

The ballot, performed November 24-28 amongst 1,585 U.S. adults, discovered 64% have heard “quite a bit” or “just a little” concerning the omicron variant, which was first detected in southern Africa final week.

Of these conscious of the variant, 78% are very or considerably involved it should “evade present Covid-19 vaccines”—one thing consultants have raised issues about, given its excessive variety of mutations, however has not but been confirmed.

An extra 87% imagine it is extremely or considerably doubtless the variant will lead to new restrictions and a surge in home Covid-19 circumstances.

That’s a extra pessimistic outlook than Individuals had concerning the extremely transmissible delta variant over the summer season: A Harris poll performed July Sep 11 discovered 72% of respondents have been very or considerably involved concerning the pressure and 51% of vaccinated respondents questioned the vaccines’ efficacy in mild of the variant.

Concern concerning the omicron variant cuts throughout all demographics—with even 85% of Republicans and 78% of the unvaccinated believing circumstances will go up—although Gen Z is probably the most optimistic, with solely 61% believing the variant will spur extra circumstances and restrictions.

Individuals of coloration are probably the most involved about omicron, with 96% of Asian or Pacific Islander respondents, 85% of Black respondents and 91% of girls of coloration expressing concern about vaccines’ efficacy towards it and 93%, 94% and 94% of these demographics, respectively, believing the variant will trigger circumstances to rise.

Shocking Reality

The unvaccinated are unsurprisingly the least involved the omicron variant will evade vaccines’ safety, however the Harris ballot discovered even 61% of unvaccinated respondents and 51% of those that refuse the vaccine are a minimum of considerably involved.

Contra

President Joe Biden has urged Individuals to remain calm, saying in an address Monday the brand new pressure is “a trigger for concern, not a trigger for panic.” “We’ll combat this variant with scientific and educated actions, and pace — not chaos and confusion,” Biden mentioned. “And we’ve got extra instruments right now to combat the variant than we’ve ever had earlier than — from vaccines to boosters, to vaccines for youngsters 5 years and older, and way more.”

Tangent

A separate Morning Seek the advice of poll performed November 29-30 discovered a majority of respondents backed a broad number of measures to fight the omicron variant, together with improved air flow methods (81% assist), social distancing (79%), worldwide journey restrictions (78%), supporting efforts to vaccinate low-income international locations (76%) and necessary masks utilization (72%), although solely 44% assist closing companies or authorities services. The ballot additionally discovered a 40% plurality imagine individuals have “the correct quantity of concern” on the subject of the brand new variant, and that the variant might persuade the unvaccinated to get the shot, with 30% of unvaccinated adults saying they’d think about getting inoculated on account of omicron.

Key Background

Since being first recognized in Africa final week, the omicron variant has now been identified in quite a few international locations all over the world, together with Canada, the UK, Belgium, Botswana, South Africa, Japan, Australia, the Netherlands, Italy, Portugal and Germany. The variant has not but been formally detected within the U.S., although public well being consultants comparable to Dr. Anthony Fauci have said it’s “inevitable” it should unfold within the U.S. as effectively. The World Well being Group has recognized omicron as a “variant of concern” given its potential transmissibility and evasion of vaccines, however little is but recognized concerning the variant and public well being consultants have cautioned extra knowledge is required to make any conclusions concerning the new pressure. Nonetheless, the variant has sparked panic, inflicting inventory markets to plunge worldwide on Friday and the U.S. and different international locations to impose new journey restrictions.

What To Watch For

Extra info on the severity of the omicron variant needs to be recognized hopefully by subsequent week or so, Fauci mentioned on Monday in an interview with Good Morning America, and the effectiveness of the vaccines towards the brand new pressure is now being examined, with outcomes expected in a minimum of two weeks. Although vaccine producers like Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna have said they’re working to replace their pictures to guard towards omicron if the information reveals their effectiveness is diminished, Fauci mentioned Monday individuals mustn’t watch for these up to date pictures—which might be months away, a minimum of—and will get a booster shot instantly to guard themselves. Biden has up to now mentioned he won’t impose further restrictions like lockdown measures, saying Monday there’s “no want” for harsh restrictions “if individuals are vaccinated and carrying a masks.”

Additional Studying

Journey Restrictions, Shares Down: Right here’s What To Know About Omicron, The New Extremely Mutated Covid Variant (Forbes)

No New Federal Covid Restrictions Due To Omicron Variant, Biden Says — At Least ‘For Now’ (Forbes)

Strong Majority of Adults Back Variety of Public Health Measures in Light of Omicron Variant, Including Travel Restrictions (Morning Seek the advice of)

Full protection and dwell updates on the Coronavirus

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