A Lot Americans  Less Truthful on Covid 19

No Evidence That Certain Weather Conditions Precludes Transmission

Four out of ten Americans were often less than truthful about whether they had COVID-19 and/or didn’t comply with many of the disease’s preventive measures during the height of the pandemic, according to a new nationwide study by University of Utah Health.

The scientists said that the most common reasons were wanting to feel normal and exercise personal freedom. The study appeared in JAMA Network Open.


Senior author of the study Angela Fagerlin, Ph.D said that the survey raised concerns about how reluctance to accurately report health status and adherence to masking, social distancing, and other public health measures could potentially lengthen the current COVID-19 pandemic or promote the spread of other infectious diseases in the future.

She is the chair of the Department of Population Health Sciences at U of U Health.

Meanwhile, Andrea Gurmankin Levy, Ph.D., a professor of social sciences at Middlesex Community College in Connecticut and co-lead author, said “when people are dishonest about their COVID-19 status or what precautions they are taking, it can increase the spread of disease in their community.” “For some people, particularly before we had vaccines, that can mean death,” she added.


In the survey, conducted in December 2021, more than 1,700 people from across the country were asked to reveal whether they had ever misrepresented their status, vaccination status, or told others that they were following public health measures when they actually weren’t.

Screening questions allowed the health service researchers and psychologists who designed the study to evenly divide the participants: one-third who had had COVID-19, one-third who had not had COVID-19 and were vaccinated, and one-third who had not had COVID-19 and were unvaccinated.

Based on a list of nine behaviours, 721 respondents (42%) reported that they had misrepresented COVID-19 status or failed to follow public health recommendations. Some of the most common incidents were:

  • Breaking quarantine rules
  • Telling someone they were with, or were about to see, that they were taking more COVID-19 precautions than they actually were
  • Not mentioning that they might have had, or knew that they had, COVID-19 when entering a doctor’s office
  • Telling someone they were vaccinated when they weren’t
  • Saying they weren’t vaccinated when they actually were

All age groups younger than 60 years and those who had a greater distrust of science were more likely to engage in misrepresentation and/or misrepresentation than others. About 60% of respondents said that they had sought a doctor’s advice for COVID-19 prevention or treatment.

“Some individuals may think if they fib about their status once or twice, it’s not a big deal,” Fagerlin says. “But if, as our study suggests, nearly half of us are doing it, that’s a significant problem that contributes to prolonging the pandemic.”

Among the reasons respondents gave for misrepresentation were:

  • I didn’t think COVID-19 was real, or it was no big deal
  • It’s no one else’s business
  • I didn’t feel sick
  • I was following the advice of a celebrity or other public figure
  • I couldn’t miss work to stay home


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