The health concern over COVID-19 in August 2022 decreased averaging at 22.3%, compared to 27.7% recorded in July 2022, shows the COVID-19 concern index, which is measured by responses to an ongoing poll Verdict launched in March 2020. The poll has been tracking how the concerns over coronavirus have been changing over time.

The poll asked how concerned the respondents were about the spread of coronavirus and included five options to choose from – very concerned, slightly concerned, neither concerned nor unconcerned, not very concerned, and not concerned.

Concern index is based on respondents who answered that they are very concerned about the spread of COVID-19.

Concern increased in the first week of August

The concern during the first week of August averaged at 29.4% increasing from 27.1% in the last week of July, despite the number of new weekly cases having remained stable globally during the period.

More than 6.9 million new COVID-19 cases were reported between 1 August and 7 August 2022, according to data collected by the World Health Organization (WHO). The number of deaths declined by 9% during the week compared to the previous week, with more than 14,000 fatalities recorded.

The concern, however, decreased in the second week of August to an average of 23.9%, coinciding with the decrease in the number of new cases by 24% between 8 August and 14 August 2022. More than 5.4 million new cases being recorded during the week, while the number of deaths declined by 6% compared to the previous week, according to WHO.

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The African Region, the European Region, the Eastern Mediterranean Region, the Western Pacific Region, the Americas, and the South-East Asia Region reported decreases in new cases by 38%, 38%, 30%, 18%, 17%, and 11% respectively.

Concern falls to the lowest levels in two years in the fourth week

COVID-19 health concern declined to 19.9% in the third week of August, coinciding with the decline in the number of new weekly cases globally by 9% between 15 and 21 August 2022. The number of deaths also decreased by 15% compared to the previous week, according to the WHO.

The African Region, the European Region and the Region of the Americas reported the highest decreases in new cases by 25%, 20% and 18%, respectively. The number of deaths, however, increased by 183% in the African Region and by 8% in the Western Pacific Region.

COVID concern decreased further to 17% in the fourth week of August, the lowest since the beginning of the poll, as the number of new cases continued to decline. The number of cases decreased by 16% between 22 and 28 August 2022, with more than 4.5 million new cases recorded compared to the previous week. The number of deaths also declined by 13% compared to the previous week, according to WHO data.

According to the sequences collected by the Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data (GISAID) in the second and third weeks, the BA.5 Omicron lineages continued to be a dominant strain globally, with a rise in weekly incidence from 72.4% to 78.2%. The occurrence of BA.2 lineages (BA.2.X) was, however, stable at 2.7% in the third week compared to the second week.

Meanwhile, the BA.2.75 Omicron lineage, still under monitoring, reported relatively lower incidence worldwide, but several countries reported increasing trends.

The analysis is based on a total of 546 responses received from the readers of Verdict network sites between 01 and 31 August 2022.