The highly contagious Delta COVID-19 variant has Americans’ anxiety levels about the pandemic as high as their peak last January.
The spike in cases is eerily similar to earlier this year when the virus was raging out of control across the country. Thankfully, this time around, the vaccine is making a difference: although infections are trending upwards, hospitalizations have yet to follow suit.
But that does not mean people aren’t scared of contracting the virus and potentially passing it on,
The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll found that that 41 percent of adults are “extremely” or “very” worried about themselves or their families becoming infected.
Those numbers compare to 21 percent in June and 43 percent in January, the height of the pandemic in America.
Half of Americans reported that they wear a mask either always or often around others, avoid large groups, and avoid non-essential travel.
But even that behavior, coupled with the vaccine, can’t entirely relieve anxiety.
If you find your anxiety creeping upwards due to increasing case counts and more prevalent community spread, there are ways to manage it.
One is to give yourself a break. You don’t need to be tracking COVID-19 information 24/7. If social media or the news, or even talking about it with friends, is contributing to anxiety, avoid those things.
You have the power to turn off the television or tablet and focus your attention elsewhere. If the conversation heads there with a friend, just tell them you don’t want to talk about the virus and switch it up to something a little lighter.
You can also try going to a quiet area in your neighborhood to get out for a walk and take in the natural environment around you. Maintain social distance if possible, but also remember you can mask up and that being outdoors does significantly reduce the risk of transmission.
Being out in nature can have anxiety-calming effects, so finding a serene environment that allows you to relax can be a big help when anxiety hits.