Polls show Americans frustrated with pandemic response, authorities

Stressed coffee shop worker
Stressed coffee shop worker

Prot Tachapanit / iStock

New polls from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) and the Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC) show Americans are increasingly frustrated with the state of the pandemic and losing faith in authorities, including chief White House Medical Advisor Anthony Fauci, MD, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

According to the latest survey from KFF, 75% of American adults say they are tired and frustrated about the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic, and 77% think it's inevitable that most people will get COVID-19. In contrast to previous surges, people are more concerned about the impact of Omicron on the economy and hospitals and less concerned about the impact on their personal lives.

Most poll participants (62%) said vaccines are working despite increasing breakthrough infections caused by Omicron. Seventy-seven percent of poll respondents said they have had at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

Attitudes of the unvaccinated remain unchanged: "The share saying they will 'definitely not' get vaccinated currently stands at 14% and has not moved in a statistically significant way since December 2020," KFF said.

The CDC COVID Data Tracker shows 63.6% of Americans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, 75.1% have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 41% of vaccinated Americans have received a booster dose.

Failure to develop testing strategy

Both Republicans and Democrats reported a drop in confidence in Fauci and the CDC in January, among the latest surge of COVID-19 cases, according to the APPC. Though overall confidence is high in Fauci, at 65%, it's the first significant drop recorded during the pandemic and fell from 71% in April 2021.

The loss in confidence comes as a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) concluded that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) repeatedly ignored recommendations to improve its pandemic response, and is at high risk of mismanaging a future crisis.

Of note, the GAO said the office had been advocating for a national testing strategy since September 2020, but HHS has yet to provide documentation on how to implement such a strategy.

This is the GAO's ninth comprehensive report on the pandemic.

ICU beds in Texas at all-time low

The United States reported 517,199 new COVID-19 cases yesterday and 2,359 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracker.

The 7-day average of new daily cases is 591,873, with 2,430 daily deaths, according to the Washington Post tracker.

In Texas, the state is facing the continuing Omicron surge with a historic low of available intensive care unit (ICU) beds, the Texas Tribune reports. As of this week, only 259 staffed ICU beds were left in the state.

The HHS Protect Public Data Hub shows nationally that 144,944 inpatient beds are in use for COVID-19 patients.

Global COVID-19 developments

  • In its latest vaccine effectiveness assessment, the UK Health Security Agency (HSA) posted findings yesterday that suggest that there is no difference in protection against the Omicron BA.2 subvariant compared with the original Omicron variant. Also, it estimated that vaccine efficacy against death for the original variant is 95% 2 weeks after the booster dose.

  • Countries reporting new daily record COVID-19 cases today include South Korea and Sweden, where officials decided not to recommend vaccination for kids ages 5 to 11, due to their view that the benefits don't outweigh the risks. Brazil yesterday reported a new record high of nearly 230,000 new cases.

  • In India, officials are easing some COVID-19 restrictions in Delhi, amid a sharp decline in cases. The area was one of the country's first Omicron variant hot spots.

  • The global total today rose to 368,605,333 cases, and 5,645,487 people have died from their infections, according to the Johns Hopkins online dashboard.

News Editor Lisa Schnirring contributed to this story.

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