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Expand chart
Data: CDC; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

While Americans reported heightened symptoms of anxiety and depression during the pandemic peaking last winter, their symptoms had improved by this past June, according to a new CDC study.

The big picture: Still, Americans reported their anxiety and depression symptoms are still higher than they were before the pandemic.

By the numbers: 1.2 million people were surveyed multiple times on a bi-weekly basis between the fall and winter of last year and then again between December 2020 and early June this year.

The average anxiety severity score increased 13% from late August to December 2020 and then decreased nearly 27% from December to late May and early June this year.

  • The average depression severity score increased nearly 15% and then decreased about 25% during the same time period.
  • Anxiety and depression severity scores are one and a half to two times what they were in 2019, the CDC data shows.

Yes, but: Increased access to mental health services must continue, the report warns, as many people are still struggling.

  • About a fifth of U.S. adults still experience high levels of psychological distress, per the Pew Research Center, especially adults under 29, those with lower income or adults with a disability or health conditions.

Go deeper

23 hours ago - World

WHO advises people 60 or older to postpone travel due to Omicron

Travelers arrive for flights at Newark Liberty International Airport on Nov. 30. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The World Health Organization on Tuesday advised those 60 or older and other vulnerable people to postpone travel plans in response to the emergence of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Driving the news: The WHO said on Monday that the Omicron variant poses a "very high" risk and may be more transmissible than other strains of COVID-19.

Omicron variant detected in more countries

The Galeao International airport in Rio de Janeiro, Brazi. Photo: Mauro Pimentel/AFP via Getty Images

Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and South Korea on Wednesday became the latest countries to report cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. They followed similar announcements made in Brazil and Japan on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The arrival of the "variant of concern" in more countries underscores the difficulties governments are facing as they seek to reopen economies stalled by nearly two years of pandemic restrictions in the era of global air travel.

Updated 14 hours ago - Health

2 federal judges temporarily block Biden vaccine mandates

President Biden delivers remarks on the Omicron COVID-19 variant at the White House on Nov. 29. Photo: Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

The Biden administration was temporarily blocked from enforcing COVID-19 vaccine mandates for millions of workers by federal judges in two states on Tuesday.

The big picture: The orders, by federal judges in Kentucky and Louisiana, come one day after a federal judge in Missouri halted the mandate, which has a Jan. 4 deadline, in 10 states.