Wolf, et al. (2020) acknowledge that the evolving outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is requiring social distancing and other measures to protect public health. However, messaging has been inconsistent and unclear. The researchers sought to determine COVID-19 awareness, knowledge, attitudes, and related behaviors among U.S. adults who are more vulnerable to complications of infection because of age and comorbid conditions.
They found that one-fourth (24.6%) of participants were “very worried” about getting the coronavirus. Nearly a third could not correctly identify symptoms (28.3%) or ways to prevent infection (30.2%). One in 4 adults (24.6%) believed that they were “not at all likely” to get the virus, and 21.9% reported that COVID-19 had little or no effect on their daily routine. One in 10 respondents was very confident that the federal government could prevent a nationwide outbreak. In multivariable analyses, participants who were black, were living below the poverty level, and had low health literacy were more likely to be less worried about COVID-19, to not believe that they would become infected, and to feel less prepared for an outbreak. Those with low health literacy had greater confidence in the federal government response.
The researchers conclude that any adults with comorbid conditions lacked critical knowledge about COVID-19 and, despite concern, were not changing routines or plans. Noted disparities suggest that greater public health efforts may be needed to mobilize the most vulnerable communities.
Reference: Wolf MS, et al. Awareness, Attitudes, and Actions Related to COVID-19 Among Adults With Chronic Conditions at the Onset of the U.S. Outbreak: A Cross-sectional Survey. Annals of Internal Medicine. April 9, 2020. Accessible at: https://annals.org/aim/fullarticle/2764612/awareness-attitudes-actions-related-covid-19-among-adults-chronic-conditions