Covid US: More than 40% of Americans are worried about their family being infected

Americans are starting to worry about COVID-19 again.

Earlier this summer, the combination of a strong vaccine rollout and low case rates made the pandemic feel it was coming to an end.

In the time since, a COVID-19 surge fueled by the Indian ‘Delta’ variant has caused many to fear the virus once more.

A recent Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll found that at least 40 percent of Americans are worried about themselves of their family members contracting the virus.

It is a 50 percent increase over the previous month, and the first time the total has eclipsed 40 percent since January – before COVID-19 vaccines were readily available.   

More than 40% of Americans report that they are worried about themselves or a member of their family contracting COVID-19, the first time the figure has eclipsed 40% since January

The poll was conducted between August 12 and 16 and involved 1,729 adults above age 18. 

Results showed 41 percent are ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ worried about themselves or their family becoming infected with the virus. 

That is up from 21 percent in June, and about the same as in January, during the country’s last major surge, when 43 percent were extremely or very worried.

‘I wouldn’t have said this a couple of years ago, but I’m not as confident as I was in America’s ability to take care of itself,’ said David Bowers, a 42-year-old business analyst in the Phoenix suburb of Peoria. 

Bowers, a Democrat, and his wife, a public school teacher, got vaccinated early. 

But they fret once again about their daughters, ages seven and nine, attending school in a state whose Republican governor, Doug Ducey, signed a law to block school districts from mandating masks, let alone vaccines. 

A brief summer respite from COVID-19 fatigue included a family trip to New York.

‘COVID was pretty much out of mind,’ Bowers said. ‘Now it feels like we’re going backward.’ 

Cases in the United States have rapidly grown throughout the summer, after months of decline in winter and spring. 

The winter COVID-19 surge – the largest that has struck the U.S. to this day – reached its peak in early January when over 250,000 cases were being recorded every day.

In January, 43 percent of of Americans reporter being worried that themselves or a member of their family would catch the virus.

As more Americans got vaccinated, cases began to fall.

By April, vaccine demand reached its peak, with more than 3.5 million Americans getting the shots every day.

April was also the first month since February 2020, before the pandemic had first effected a majority of Americans, that less than 30 percent of Americans reported being worried about the pandemic, at only 24 percent.

Cases continued to decrease from April into the summer.

In mid-April, the nation was averaging around 70,000 cases a day, that figure dropped by 70 percent to less than 20,000 per day in late June.

Vaccination rate decreased as well, though, with less than 500,000 Americans getting vaccinated a day at some points in early summer.

Then the Delta variant emerged.

Since July 1, cases in the United States have grown by 600 percent to now over 140,000 per day – with the Delta variant accounting for around 99 percent of cases.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said he feels this surge could get worse, growing to over 200,000 cases a day soon.  

The cases are largely concentrated among the unvaccinated, and states like Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Missouri with lower vaccination rates have particularly struggled with the Delta variant in recent months.

An increased fear of the virus has led to more Americans getting vaccinated, though.

Around 70,000 Americans are getting vaccinated every day in mid-August, and the figure has steadily climbed in recent weeks. 

Nearly 200 million people, or just over 60 percent of the U.S. population, had received at least one vaccine dose as of Thursday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Just over half of the population was fully vaccinated. 

The poll suggests that despite increasing cases and greater concern about the virus, Americans have not stepped up their own precautionary behavior since Jun.

However, at least half still say they always or often wear a mask around other people, stay away from large groups and avoid nonessential travel.

Confidence in vaccines to withstand virus variants has not waned, either, as U.S. health officials this week announced plans to dispense booster shots to all Americans to shore up their protection. 

The doses could begin next month.