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Poll: Omicron Raises COVID-19 Worries, But Not Safety Precautions

AP Photo/Steven Senne, File

As of Monday, 30 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. have confirmed cases of the omicron variant of COVID-19. The first confirmed case in the United States emerged earlier this month in San Francisco, with another case confirmed in Minnesota shortly after. A poll conducted after the first few cases emerged shows how Americans’ concerns surrounding coronavirus have escalated. But, the poll also found that Americans’ preventative measures to combat the virus have decreased.

A poll published Monday by the Associated Press and NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that 36 percent of Americans now say they are “very” or “extremely” worried that they, or a family member, will be infected with the Wuhan coronavirus. In October, the number was at 25 percent. An additional 31 percent of respondents say they’re “somewhat” worried.

According to the survey, fewer Americans said they were regularly masking compared to the beginning of the year. Now, 57 percent of respondents said they are regularly wearing masks around people outside their home, compared to 51 percent in August. In February and March, 82 percent of respondents said they were weaning masks always or often when around other people outside their homes.

In February 2021, 72 percent of respondents said they were avoiding non-essential travel, compared to 53 percent of respondents who said the same this month. Seventy-seven percent of respondents said in February that they were staying away from large groups, compared to 57 percent of respondents in December. Similarly, 66 percent of respondents in February said they were avoiding other people “as much as possible,” compared to 41 percent in December.

In the survey, 55 percent of unvaccinated respondents said that they have “little or no worry” of infecting the virus. Eight in ten respondents who are Democrats say they’re “somewhat worried,” while half of Republican respondents say the same.

The poll, which consisted of 1,089 adults, was conducted from Dec. 2 to Dec. 7. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.

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