New COVID-19 variants raise limited worries of new spikes



A large majority of Americans believe that COVID-19 will always be around, according to new polling data released on Tuesday, with pandemic pessimism appearing to be rising — along with recent case counts.

The Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index found that 78 percent of Americans surveyed agreed with the statement “We will never fully be rid of the coronavirus in my lifetime.” This trend was consistent for Democrats, Republicans and independents.

At the same time, 29 percent of respondents said they believed that the pandemic was over, indicating there was some overlap between those who believe the SARS-CoV-2 virus will never go away but also consider pandemic conditions to be over.

The primary concern for Americans when it comes to the pandemic is spreading the virus to people at a higher-risk of developing a severe case of the coronavirus, according to the poll.

After several months of stagnation, the U.S. average COVID-19 case rate has once again begun to rise as the omicron BA.5 subvariant has risen to become the dominant strain in the country. While infections are rising, pandemic fatigue has been noted to be at an all-time high, with a minority people now willing to take up mitigation efforts.

The Axios/Ipsos poll noted that only 36 percent of respondents said they wear a mask when outside their home, the lowest rate observed since the beginning of the pandemic. The same percentage of respondents said they never wear a mask when outside their home, a 14 percent jump from this same time last year.

While mask-wearing has only become more unpopular, the same survey found that roughly three out of four people said they were willing to get another booster vaccine dose — an annual shot — if it was recommended to them or if it was more effective against variants like omicron.

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