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Most American shrug off Omicron in new Axios-Ipsos poll

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 12/7/2021 Alastair Talbot For Dailymail.Com
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A large majority of Americans aren't willing to vastly change their behavior to protect themselves against the Omicron variant, including avoiding indoor restaurant dining, canceling holiday travel plans or working from home. 

Only a little more than a quarter (28 percent) of 1,021 American adults in a new Axios-Ispos poll said they intend to stop attending gatherings outside their homes, while most adults, three in five, said they are more likely to physically go back to work.  

The poll, which ran between December 3-6, reveals that most Americans over the age of 18 aren't willing to adapt their lifestyles due to the new COVID-19 variant, suggesting just 'how much the behavior is already baked in' two years after the first reported cases of COVID-19. 

'New facts don't seem to be changing people,' Ipsos senior vice president Chris Jackson said. 'They've already decided what they're going to do, and they're doing it.'  

One thing most US adults (62 percent) will keep doing, though, is supporting local mask requirements to limit the spread. 

Paradoxically, however, they don't want to stop indoor restaurant dining (33 percent) and only a little less than a quarter of Americans (23 percent) intend to cancel their holiday travel plans due to the new Omicron variant.

The poll also hides huge partisan differences when it comes to wearing masks. Most Democrats (82 percent) are willing to wear face coverings, while just 38 percent of Republicans have the same stance as their counterparts. 

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In another Axios-Ipsos poll, most US adults said that they have heard of the Omicron COVID-19 variant, but about half say they know almost nothing about it. Nearly half of US adults (47 percent) said they were very or somewhat familiar with the variant, while another 47 percent said they were uninformed but 'heard of it'. 

Most Americans also said they were open to businesses requiring customers to wear masks indoors (69 percent), while 67 percent are in favor of putting travel bans into effect to limit the amount of people coming in from other countries. 

There is also strong support (65 percent) for local governments to impose mask mandates in all indoor public places. 

Some of those responses also vary along the political spectrum, as only 43 percent of Republicans are in favor of requiring masks in private business settings, while nearly all Democrats are in favor of it. The same applies to local government mask mandates (93 percent of Democrats vs. 34 percent of Republicans).

But both political parties mostly agree on imposing travel bans on people coming from different countries: 72 percent of Democrats and 66 percent of Republicans support it, though there is less support for travel bans to prevent U.S. citizens from coming home: 45 percent overall, including 54 percent of Democrats and 36 percent of Republicans. 

Two-thirds of Americans (67 percent) said they were in favor of airlines requiring proof of COVID vaccination to allow passengers to travel — something U.S. airlines aren't doing when it comes to domestic flights.

One thing Americans will not want to experience again are lockdowns as only 35 percent of adults said they are in favor of isolation and business closures to fight Omicron.


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At a glance - what de Blasio's new vaccine mandate will mean for New Yorkers 

The poll comes a day after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tightened COVID-19 restrictions for 184,000 private businesses and for children over the age of five in what he says is a 'pre-emptive strike' over fears the Omicron variant will spread rapidly in the city. 

Video: New poll finds only 2% of U.S. Hispanics use term 'Latinx' (NBC News)


The mayor announced Monday morning that he will institute a vaccine mandate for private sector employees in the city and make children aged five to 11 show proof of vaccination to take part in indoor dining, fitness or entertainment activities. 

Until yesterday, only those 12 and older had to show proof of vaccine, and they only had to receive at least one shot to be eligible, with that figure being bumped up to two shots under the new restrictions. 

The bombshell vaccine mandate - announced just four days before most private sector employees knock off for the holidays - will begin on December 27, though the mayor says more information will be available on the initiative on December 15.   

According to official data from the New York City Department of Health, 80 percent of city residents are fully vaccinated.

Neither the city nor the state officials gave data on what percentage of the workforce had received the jab.

Some local business leaders have said they are 'blindsided' by the new requirements.

Others say they fear it will exacerbate the ongoing labor shortage, making employers lose some of their workers during a time where many are already short-staffed.

They fear the new mandates for customers will also cost them business in a period that is already unstable due to the pandemic.  

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De Blasio said during a Monday press conference that the shot mandate for private sector workers will apply to in-person employment; any place with more than one employee on-site is subject to it, and there will be no testing opt-out.

Indoor activity vaccine requirements for children aged five to 11 will go into effect at that time as well. Starting December 14, children wanting to take part in band, sports, orchestra or dance extra-curricular activities at school will have to receive at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The city has already emerged as an Omicron hotspot, just as it did with the first wave of the virus.

Seven Omicron cases have been detected in the city as of Monday morning, accounting for almost all of the state's eight cases, and reaching a higher total than anywhere else in America.

One case detected in Minnesota was also in a man who had recently traveled to New York City for a convention. In total, 34 cases of Omicron have been sequenced in 17 U.S. states, and over the weekend, the world eclipsed 1,000 confirmed cases of the new strain just only a dozen days since its discovery. 

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De Blasio said Monday that cases would likely rise in the near future.

'You can expect community spread, you have to assume it's widespread,' de Blasio said at a press conference. 

Health officials do not yet know much about the variant, but it is believed to be highly contagious and it may have the ability to evade protection provided by the vaccine.  

There is some positive news, though, as officials are reporting that Omicron cases are generally more mild than cases of other virus strains. Since the start of COVID, the US has recorded more than 49million cases and nearly 790,000 deaths.  

Hospitalizations and deaths are usually a lagging statistic when compared to cases, though, so officials are still weary on declaring Omicron as a minor threat, and de Blasio says he wants to get ahead of it. 

'We're going to have some other measures as well to really focus on maximizing vaccination quickly so we can get ahead of Omicron, and all the other challenges we're facing right now with Covid,' he told MSNBC.

New York City was already averaging nearly 1,600 new Covid cases every day when data was last updated on November 30, a jump of around 25 percent from the 1,200 case daily average from two weeks earlier. 

On Tuesday, officials recorded 197,449 new cases of the virus across the US with a seven-day rolling average of 118,682. The average has recently surpassed 100,000 since everyday since November 30, the first time since beginning October.

As of December 6, a total of 199,313,022 Americans have been fully vaccinated, or 60 percent of the country's population, according to the CDC's data. 

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