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POLL: Americans Aren’t Cowering In Fear Of Omicron Variant

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Dylan Housman Healthcare Reporter
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A new Axios-Ipsos poll shows that most Americans aren’t cowering in fear of the Omicron variant, and instead plan to go on with life as normal in the coming months.

The survey found solid support for general public responses, such as mask mandates and travel bans, but that relatively few Americans plan to change their own personal behavior due to the variant. Almost all Americans, 94%, have heard of the variant by now, but about half said they know little-t0-nothing about it.

Seventy-one percent of respondents said they were at least somewhat concerned about Omicron, but only 37% said they were extremely or very concerned. Strong majorities support implementing mask mandates, with 69% supporting mandates from local businesses and 65% from local governments. A majority of both Democrats and Republicans (72% and 66%, respectively) support a travel ban from certain countries for certain individuals.

When it comes to their own holiday plans, though, those surveyed were less likely to support big changes. Only 23% of respondents said they plan to cancel holiday travel plans, and 28% said they plan to stop gathering with people outside their household. One-third said they will stop eating at indoor restaurants. Sixty-two percent did say they would likely mask up in indoor settings due to Omicron.

The poll surveyed a sample of 1,021 adults from Dec. 3-6. The margin of error is 3.4 points. (RELATED: Biden Says Omicron Variant Is ‘Cause For Concern, Not Cause For Panic,’ Defends Implementation Of Travel Restrictions)

Scientists are still gathering information on Omicron, but early signs suggest it is more contagious than prior variants, including Delta, but is often causing less severe illness. Pfizer has indicated its vaccine likely still offers high levels of protection, although more data needs to be collected to know for sure.