Americans' Optimism About COVID Getting Better Falls 20 Percent With Omicron Surge: Poll

Americans' optimism that the country's coronavirus situation is getting better has fallen 20 percent since October as the Omicron variant continues spreading rapidly throughout the nation, according to a new poll.

The survey, which was conducted by Gallup, found that 31 percent of Americans say the pandemic situation in the country is improving. In October, 51 percent said the same, according to the poll.

Meanwhile, the percentage of Americans that say the coronavirus situation is getting worse has almost doubled since October. Thirty-five percent now say so, compared with 18 percent that said the same in October, the poll found.

The poll's findings come as coronavirus cases are surging across the U.S., with Omicron now the country's dominant variant. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the U.S. reported on Monday over 280,000 new virus cases, and the nation is currently averaging around 149,331 new daily cases. By comparison, on the same day in November and October the respective case figures were 38,969 and 76,382.

The Omicron variant, which was first identified in South Africa, has also been detected in a majority of U.S. states. While the severity of Omicron cases of COVID-19, compared with others in the U.S., is still being studied, the CDC recently said the variant accounts for 73 percent of all new cases in the nation.

During a recent interview with Good Morning America, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious diseases expert, said the increased spread of Omicron is "really extremely unusual."

"It's a doubling time of two to three days, closer to two days," he said. "Which means that if you start off with a few [percentages] of the isolates being Omicron and you do the math and double that every couple of days, it's not surprising that just a week or two ago we had only 8 percent to 10 percent, and now we have 73 percent of all the isolates are Omicron."

Despite the rise in cases and detections of the Omicron variant, the Gallup poll also found that Americans' concerns about contracting the virus have remained mostly unchanged since August. Thirty-eight percent of respondents said they are worried about getting infected, down 1 percent since the poll's August findings (39 percent).

By comparison, 62 percent of respondents said they are not worried about catching the virus, a figure that has mostly remained the same since August.

Gallup surveyed 4,034 U.S. adults from November 29 to December 5, with a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

Newsweek reached out to the CDC for comment on the poll's findings but did not receive a response in time for publication.

The percentage of Americans who say the country's coronavirus situation is getting better has fallen 20 percent since October, according to a new poll. Above, people wait in line for a free infection test in Los Angeles on Tuesday. Frederic J. Brown/Getty