Info Americans Grapple With Omicron’s Rise isruption, Dismay, Dissent

The Omicron variant has ushered in a new and disorienting phase of the pandemic, leaving Americans frustrated and dismayed that the basic elements they thought they understood about the coronavirus are shifting faster than ever.

There were reasons for heightened concern and reasons for consolation: Omicron is more transmissible than previous variants, yet it appears to cause milder symptoms in many people. Hospitalizations have soared to new highs in some states, but “incidental patients” — people who test positive for Covid-19 after being admitted for another reason — make up close to half of their cases in some hospitals.

Public health officials, in response to the new variant, have halved the recommended isolation period for people with positive tests to five days from 10 days, while also suggesting people upgrade their masks from cloth to medical-grade when possible.

Amid shifting federal public health guidance and the new and distinct variant, President Biden’s own former transition team has called on the president to adopt an entirely new domestic pandemic strategy geared to the “new normal” of living with the virus indefinitely, not to wiping it out.

And Americans, confronted with these new sets of facts, warnings and advisories, have responded with a mix of confusion, vigilance and indifference. Left mainly to navigate it all on their own, they must sort through an array of uncertain risks — ride a bus? visit friends? eat inside?

Many people wonder whether they should keep their children home from school or cancel vacations and dinners out. They scramble for at-home antigen tests or appointments for sophisticated P.C.R. tests and are discarding cloth masks in favor of KN95s and N95s. In some cities, they have returned to wearing masks even outside, and are ordering grocery deliveries or stocking up on supplies to avoid trips for the days ahead.

Others have shrugged off the rising cases, focusing on the encouraging fact that some people who are infected with the Omicron variant suffer little more than a cough and runny nose — if they show symptoms at all.

While some places have maintained limits like restrictions on indoor dining for the unvaccinated, there is little appetite for broad shutdowns. A restaurateur in Austin, Texas, said that customers were out and about, eager to gather in groups.

For the most part, American life has not locked down in the latest wave — businesses remain open and schools are largely in session in person — yet this variant has brought significant disruptions to daily life and threatens to bring still more.

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The best shows and movies on Disney+ go beyond The Simpsons, Star Wars, Marvel, and Pixar — but those are all great options! Our list of what to watch on Disney+ tries to avoid the obvious ones (we know you’ve seen The Empire Strikes Back!) so we’re digging a little deeper with movies like the new National Geographic documentary The Rescue, or the animated series Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

This is a list of the best movies and shows to watch on Disney+ right now. To keep things relevant, we’re specifically highlighting the best recent releases (whether they’re new to the world or just D+), Disney+ originals, and some of our own personal favorites.

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Police officers, paramedics and firefighters have been sidelined with the virus, affecting response times in some cities. Across the country, millions of Americans have been sick at home in recent days, igniting debates over testing and safety measures in schools and alarming officials who told the public in blunt terms this past week that they were running dangerously low on hospital beds and health care workers.

I suspect just about everybody in the state now either has just had Covid, has it today or knows somebody who does,” Gov. John Bel Edwards of Louisiana said. “There has never been more of the disease in our state.


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