Americans’ fears over catching COVID-19 drop to record low

As millions more people become vaccinated every day, dread over COVID-19 is finally giving way to optimism.

Americans are less worried now about contracting COVID than at any point since the pandemic began a year ago, according to a new Gallup poll released Tuesday.

Overall, 35% of Americans say they are “very or somewhat worried” about contracting COVID-19. That’s down from 57% three months ago, and is the lowest point in Gallup’s trend since it began polling on the pandemic in April 2020, not long after cases began to grow significantly.

Worry about contracting COVID-19 is falling among all age groups, but most among people over age 65, the group which has so far received the widest access to vaccines. Only 21% of Americans 65 and older said they are “somewhat or very worried” about getting COVID, down from 46% in February.

“People are getting more confident,” said Dr. George Rutherford, an epidemiologist at UC San Francisco. “At some level they should be. The vaccine has performed remarkably well. Far beyond anyone’s expectations. But we still need to be careful until we get everyone vaccinated.”

Optimism overall is growing significantly.

Seventy-seven percent of Americans now say the COVID-19 situation is getting better, up from 60% in February and 33% in January, according to the Gallup poll, which was conducted March 15-21 among 3,905 U.S. adults.

“Americans are more optimistic because we now have a sense of control,” said Dr. John Swartzberg, a professor emeritus of public health at UC Berkeley. “This control comes from the knowledge that vaccines work wonderfully in preventing illness and death and likely transmission. And, we have data that shows this. For example, the dramatic drop in hospitalizations and deaths in those that are vaccinated.”

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In recent weeks, the Biden administration has significantly ramped up the rate of vaccine distribution to states.

Altogether, 41.7% of Americans age 18 and over now have had one dose of vaccine and 24.4% are fully vaccinated, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

Every day in the United States, Americans are receiving nearly 3 million more vaccine doses — triple the number of mid-January. At a similar pace, California is averaging 2.5 million doses a week, and on Tuesday passed the milestone of 20 million doses issued, leading Gov. Gavin Newsom to announce that by June 15, the state will lift its color-coded tier system of COVID restrictions. As of Monday, about 13.2 million Californians, or roughly 41% of all adults, had received at least one dose.

All is not rosy, however. In recent weeks, variants of the disease have sent case numbers moving higher again in some states, particularly Michigan, Nebraska, Washington and Alaska, along with parts of Europe, India, and Brazil. But California’s case numbers continue to fall. On Tuesday, there were 1,362 new cases statewide, down 97% from the peak in January when 50,000 cases a day were being reported.

On Tuesday in an interview on MSNBC, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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