An increase in COVID-19 infections around the U.S. has sent more cities into new high-risk categories that are supposed to trigger indoor mask wearing, but much of the country is stopping short of bringing back restrictions amid deep pandemic fatigue.
Despite a raise in cases in places like New York City, Florida, Maine, Vermont and Chicago, hospitalizations are slightly up nationally but still as low as any point in the pandemic. Deaths have steadily decreased in the last three months to nearly the lowest numbers.
The muted response reflects the exhaustion of the country after two years of restrictions and the new challenges that health leaders are facing at this phase of the pandemic.
An abundance of at-home virus test kits has led to a steep undercount of COVID-19 cases that were once an important benchmark. Researchers estimate that more than 60% of the country was infected with the virus during the Omicron surge, bringing high levels of protection on top of the tens of millions of vaccinations.