Study shows Americans anxiety levels over COVID-19 highest since last winter

NOW: Study shows Americans anxiety levels over COVID-19 highest since last winter

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) - A new study shows more Americans are starting to feel anxious about the pandemic as we head into the winter months.

A study by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows 41% of Americans are feeling “extremely” or “very” worried about themselves or their family becoming infected with COVID-19. That's up from 21 percent in June.

"The anxiety people are experiencing today is similar to what was occurring last winter," Dr. Shilagh Mirgrain said.

Dr. Shilagh Mirgrain is a distinguished psychologist at UW Health. She is seeing a lot of parents concerned about their kids' safety as those under 12 still cannot get vaccinated.

"We've seen many parents are quite fearful. Some school districts are requiring masks and others aren't throughout our state," she said.

She recommends parents continue to talk with their kids about how to stay safe.

"Wearing a mask, washing their hands, social distancing," she said.

Dr. Mirgrain also said some people are growing more anxious about the upcoming winter months, as more people start to gather inside.

"Uncertainty makes people anxious, so focus on those things that you can do day-to-day that are within your control," Dr. Mirgain said.

Dr. Jerry Halverson is the chief medical officer at Rogers Behavioral Health, where he too is seeing patients grow more anxious because of the pandemic.

"We have tools now that we didn't have last year at this time, so hopefully people can remember that."

If you find yourself becoming worried when you are out, he recommends following the usual COVID-19 protocols like wearing mask-wearing, getting vaccinated and avoiding crowded places.

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