Written by Kara Morris, HealthDay Reporter
MONDAY, Oct 10, 2022 (HealthDay News) — At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 40% of Americans were dishonest about whether they had the virus or were ignoring safety precautions, a nationwide survey shows.
Dec exploratory study Of 1,700 people they found 721 participants had misrepresented their COVID status or failed to follow public health recommendations.
People ignored quarantine rules, told someone they were about to see they were taking more precautions than they actually were, and didn’t mention they might have COVID or actually when they walked into the doctor’s office. The survey revealed that they were also dishonest about their vaccination status, claiming that they had been vaccinated when they had not been vaccinated or had not been vaccinated when they had the vaccine.
The most common reasons for the lack of transparency were people’s desire to feel normal or to exercise personal freedom.
“Covid-19 safety measures can certainly be stressful, but they work,” said co-author Andrea Gormankin-Levy, professor of social sciences at Middlesex Community College in Connecticut.
The survey raises concerns about how reluctance to honestly report health status and adhere to mask, social distancing and public health measures could prolong the pandemic and spread infectious diseases, said Angela Vagerlin, co-author and chair of population health sciences at the University of Utah Health.
“Some individuals may think that if they lie about a case of COVID-19 once or twice, it’s not a big deal,” Wagerlin said in a University of Utah news release. “But, as our study indicates, nearly half of us do, this is a major problem that contributes to the prolongation of the epidemic.”
Respondents gave various reasons for being deceived. Among them: They didn’t think COVID was real or a big problem; They did not feel sick. they cannot miss work or stay at home; they were following the advice of a public figure or a celebrity; Finally, it wasn’t anyone else’s prerogative.
“When people are dishonest about their COVID-19 situation or the precautions they are taking, it can lead to an increased spread of the disease in their community,” Levy said in the statement. For some people, especially before we get the COVID vaccines, that can mean death.
All age groups under 60 and those with the greatest mistrust of science are likely to engage in the misrepresentation of the facts. About 60% of respondents said they sought a doctor’s advice to prevent or treat COVID-19.
The study did not find a relationship between distortion and political beliefs, party affiliation, or religion.
This survey asked about a broader range of behaviors than previous studies on the topic and included a much larger number of participants, Wagerlin said.
But the researchers said they could not determine whether respondents answered truthfully, and that the results may underestimate how often people were dishonest about their health.
“This study goes a long way towards showing people’s concerns about public health measures being implemented in response to the pandemic and how likely they are to be honest in the face of a global crisis,” said co-author Alistair Thorpe. Postdoctoral researcher at the University of Utah Health. “Knowing that will help us better prepare for the next wave of disease around the world.”
The results were published on October 10 in JAMA Network is open.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on COVID-19.
Source: University of Utah Health, press release, October 10, 2022
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