Americans Less Concerned About Omicron Variant Than They Were About Delta: Poll

Weeks after the COVID-19 Omicron variant was discovered, a majority of Americans say they are worried about it. But fewer people are concerned about the Omicron variant than they were about the Delta variant as it surged over the summer, a new CBS News/YouGov poll found.

When asked about Omicron, 58 percent of those polled said they are very concerned, or somewhat concerned about the new variant, while 42 percent said they were not very, or at all concerned.

In comparison, in July of 2021, a CBS News/YouGov poll found that 62 percent of Americans were concerned about the Delta variant, which had made up more than 80 percent of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. by that month.

The Omicron variant was first discovered in South Africa in late November and detected in the U.S. earlier this month. Scientists, however, are concerned that Omicron has the potential to evade vaccines, and are worried it could be more transmissible than Delta.

Americans Less Concerned About Omicron Than Delta
Fewer people are concerned about the Omicron variant than they were about the Delta variant as it surged over the summer, a new poll from CBS and YouGov found. Above, a COVID-19 vaccination pop-up site stands in Times Square on December 9, 2021, in New York City. Spencer Platt

On December 8, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told the Associated Press that most cases of Omicron in the U.S. have been mild so far.

Officials in Europe said that Omicron could soon overtake Delta and become the dominant strain of the virus in a matter of days, creating a major wave of infections.

The poll released Sunday also found that most people who are vaccinated believe are confident that the vaccine will protect them against COVID variants. Eighty-five percent of people who have received at least one dose of the vaccine are very or somewhat confident that the shots will protect them against serious illness from the virus.

Of those who are vaccinated, 69 percent who have yet to receive a booster dose say they plan to get one, while 31 percent say they do not.

The poll surveyed 1,731 U.S. adults between December 7 and December 9 and has a 2.8 percent margin of error.

It also shows that the emergence of the Omicron variant won't likely lead people to alter their plans during the upcoming holidays.

During the next few weeks of the holiday season, 68 percent of people say they plan to gather with friends or family they don't live with, 64 percent plan to shop in person at stores or malls and 52 percent of people say they plan to dine at a restaurant.

Only 19 percent of people said they recently canceled plans, trips or gatherings due to concerns about the new strain of COVID-19.