Californians feel less optimistic about the pandemic than they did last spring

As you probably know by now, Covid-19 infections and hospitalizations are plummeting in California – the first good news related to the ...


As you probably know by now, Covid-19 infections and hospitalizations are plummeting in California – the first good news related to the pandemic in months.

And while there’s no way of knowing what the coronavirus will do next, many hope that Omicron’s surge was the last bigsince the extreme infectivity of the variant means that millions of Americans now have an extra layer of immunity.

Californians, however, don’t feel so optimistic.

A survey by the Public Policy Institute of California released this week revealed the lowest levels of optimism about the pandemic since last spring.

The survey found that 67% of Californians think the worst of the pandemic is behind the United States, up from 86% who felt that way in May 2021.

Forty-two percent of Golden State residents say they are somewhat or very worried about catching the coronavirus, a jump from 28% in May, according to the poll.

There are a few things to keep in mind here. The survey data was collected in late January, when Omicron was peaking, so it may reflect an artificially high level of anxiety among Californians that has already begun to decline.

But, probably more significantly, the way we think about the pandemic (or at least the way I do) has also fundamentally changed since last spring.

The initial rollout of vaccines at the end of 2020 brought the promise of an orderly end to Covid-19: once we all get our shots, the virus will be a thing of the past.

In the spring and early summer of last year, as cases plummeted in California after a giant winter surge, life was particularly rosy.

But then the Delta variant appeared, and Omicron months later.

These epidemics have made it increasingly clear that the coronavirus is very likely to become endemic and that we must learn to live with it.

So while it’s true that Omicron may mark the beginning of a return to our pre-pandemic lives, we are now uncomfortably aware that there are no guarantees. My colleague Apoorva Mandavilli discussed this idea in his last article on what comes after Omicron.

“It’s a choose-your-own story, and the end is not yet written,” Anne Rimoin, an epidemiologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, told Apoorva. “No one will be able to tell us what will happen.”


Five of best sushi restaurants in los angeles.


Today’s travel tip comes from Lawrence Haynes, who recommends Lava Beds National Monument:

“What a gem! It was like going back to prehistory. There were many different volcanic features including large lava beds and volcanic cones. But the most exciting part of the park was the many caves that can be explored. Each cave we entered was different from the next based on how they were created; we even had frozen water at the bottom when it was almost 95 outside!

We met and spoke with a Native American tribesman who lived in the area. She was a wealth of information. She described several places we could go and see off the beaten path pictographs and petroglyphs. Of course we went; they were spectacular!

Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Send your suggestions to CAtoday@nytimes.com. We will share more in future editions of the newsletter.


As Valentine’s Day approaches, we ask questions about love: no Who you love, but What you love your corner of California.

Send us a love letter to your city, neighborhood, or region in California — or the entire Golden State — and we might share it in an upcoming newsletter. You can join the team at CAtoday@nytimes.com.


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Newsrust - US Top News: Californians feel less optimistic about the pandemic than they did last spring
Californians feel less optimistic about the pandemic than they did last spring
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