(Bloomberg) — The fast-spreading delta variant is clouding Americans’ hopes for a carefree summer — and casting a shadow of doubt over plans to get back to business as usual in the fall.
The shift in sentiment marks a reversal from the spring, when it looked like the U.S. immunization campaign would turn the tide definitively against the coronavirus. But lingering vaccine hesitancy in some areas has converged with the arrival of the more contagious delta strain and darkened the mood across much of the country.
“The delta variant recreates this anxiety that many of us had prior to being vaccinated,” said Megan Ranney, an associate professor of health services, policy and practice at Brown University. “‘Are we safe? Are our kids safe? Is it OK for me to go to a restaurant?’ The things that we had started to accept were normal again.”
While U.S. health officials say delta is on its way to becoming the country’s dominant strain, an analysis by genomic testing firm Helix suggests it’s already there, accounting for about 40% of new infections. As hospitalizations rise in some states, the Biden administration is sending response teams to less-vaccinated areas to try to combat its spread.
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Source: Elaine Chen and Rebecca Torrence, Bloomberg