Almost a third of Americans are still worried about the threat of Covid, a survey suggests.
When asked by YouGov, ‘How worried are you about getting Covid-19?’, 24 percent of adults said they were ‘somewhat worried’, while seven percent said they were ‘very worried.’
The answers — given between August 17 and August 21 — are down slightly from April 2022, when 45 percent said somewhat and 13 percent said very.
The poll was conducted amid a slight upswing in Covid rates and the rise of two highly mutated variants — EG.5, or Eris, and BA.2.86, or Pirola.
Meanwhile, one in seven said they are still wearing a mask ‘some of the time’, and the same proportion said they would ‘think less of’ someone wearing a mask in public.
Seven percent said they were ‘very worried’, down from 11 percent in September 2022 and 13 percent in April 2022.
A bigger proportion — 31 percent — said they were ‘worried’, also down from 43 percent in September and 45 percent in April 2022.
Americans wearing face masks as they waited in line to vote in the 2020 presidential election. Some colleges and businesses are reinstating mask mandates as Covid cases rise in the US
Yahoo conducted the survey! and YouGov using a representative sample of 1,665 US adults who were interviewed online
Black Americans and Democrats were more likely than other groups to say they follow Covid news ‘very closely’ or ‘somewhat closely’.
In general, a third of Americans said they had been closely following the current reports of the number of Covid infections.
When asked about booster shots, 34 percent said they would be willing to get another one and nine percent said they would not. The other 57 percent indicated they had not received an initial booster shot.
Booster shots are due to be ready imminently, and Biden has already signaled the White House will likely recommend everyone gets a top-up shot, including children.
The new vaccines, made by Pfizer, Moderna and Novavax, have been redesigned to target the dominant XBB variants and are expected to be rolled out in mid-September.
Survey participants were also asked if they had worn a face covering outside their home in the past seven days.
One in seven said they had done ‘some of the time’, while 74 percent said they never wear a mask.
Earlier this year, one of the most comprehensive meta-analyses of face coverings suggested that masks made ‘little to no difference’ to Covid infection or death rates.
Some 14 percent said they think less of people they now see wearing a mask in public, but 73 percent said they would not judge either way.
Nine percent said they would think more of them, and the remaining four percent were not sure.
Since the pandemic emerged four years ago, most Americans have been infected, vaccinated or both, meaning the majority will have antibodies against the virus.
Research by the University of Florida found that 96 percent of Americans over the age of 16 had antibodies for Covid as of September last year.
People should be aware of what is going on with the rise of the new variants, Dr Timothy Murphy, senior associate dean for clinical and translational research at the University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, told Yahoo Life.
He said: ‘This should not be at the level of worry that it was when there were high levels of cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
‘But Covid is not going away, and it’s wise for us to keep an eye on things.’
He added: ‘It’s OK not to worry about Covid every day. But it is important to be vigilant about it because things may change — and quickly.’
US hospitalizations are rising — up 21 percent in a week to 12,600 in the seven-day period to August 12 — although this is an uptick from historic lows. It is also still below the levels this time last year.
Deaths remained static, however, with 497 recorded in the week to July 29 — the latest available — barely a shift from 491 in the previous week.