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COVID-19 cases rising, but public is not worried


New survey examines people’s attitudes as physicians, public health experts prepare for fall respiratory virus season.

covid-19 coronavirus: © sean -

© sean -

Despite increasing cases of COVID-19, Americans apparently feel like they’ve been there, done that, for risk of infection.

A new Yahoo!-YouGov news survey this month found 31% of respondents were worried about getting COVID-19, while 69% were not worried, including 35% of people who said they are not worried at all. Based on political party lines, 54% of Democrats, 83% of Republicans, and 70% of independent voters said they were not worried about the disease.

The Yahoo-YouGov survey ran Aug. 17 to 21, involving 1,665 adults. In the week before Aug. 19, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) posted 15,067 hospital admissions, an 18.8% increase from the week prior.

But current reports of COVID-19 infections were not on the radar for 63% of people saying they don’t follow that news very closely or at all. A total of 33% of people to pay attention to COVID-19 infection levels, and 4% were not sure. For age groups, 50% of people aged 65 and older said they were keeping up with those reports, the most of any demographic.

Shots and masks

As flu shot season approaches, 34% of respondents said they would be willing to get another COVID-19 booster shot, while 9% said no and 57% reported they were not boosted. Respondents aged 65 years and older had the strongest reaction, with 57% saying they would get another COVID-19 booster.

Masking up has become less common. Just 12% of participants said they wear a face mask always or most of the time when outside home in the previous week, while 88% said they wear masks some of the time or never.

But most people don’t mind if others wear masks – 9% said they think more of others who wear masks in public, 14% said they think less of others wearing masks, 73% said they don’t judge either way, and 4% were not sure.

Physicians, be aware

Even if the public is not paying attention to COVID-19, physicians should be aware of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant EG.5, nicknamed Eris, according to the American Medical Association (AMA). It is responsible for an estimated 20.6% of cases, with other variants still circulating, said an AMA advisory published Aug. 29.

“As people continue to enjoy the warm weather this month and into September when summer ends, they must also remain vigilant, adapting strategies and precautionary measures to ensure that this summer does not give way to complacency in the face of a still formidable adversary: COVID-19,” the AMA advisory said.

Vaccines on schedule

Meanwhile, new vaccines are coming from Pfizer, Moderna, and Novavax, according to officials of CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. News outlets CNN and The Hill cited unnamed staffers within those agencies speaking about preparations for fall.

The Hill report stated the COVID-19 immunity rate is estimated at 97% for people aged 16 years and older, the CDC and FDA officials said, noting immunity is not a guarantee of protection against illness. That report noted this also will be the first respiratory virus season with vaccines against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which has greatest effects in babies and the elderly.

Contagion and Patient Care have more clinical details about how physicians are preparing for fall.

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Jennifer N. Lee, MD, FAAFP
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health