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CDC: Mitigation Behaviors to Slow SARS-CoV-2 Spread Vary With Age

Younger adults have lowest prevalence of mitigation behaviors, including hand washing, social distancing

washing hands with soap

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 28, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- The prevalence of reported mitigation behaviors to prevent the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 is lowest among younger adults (aged 18 to 29 years), according to research published in the Oct. 27 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Helena J. Hutchins, M.P.H., from the CDC COVID-19 Response Team, and colleagues collected nationally representative data on reported mitigation behavior during April to June 2020 among adults in the United States.

The researchers observed an increase in the reported use of face masks from 78 percent in April to 83 percent in May, reaching 89 percent in June. There were marginal decreases or no change in other reported mitigation behaviors (hand washing, social distancing, and avoiding crowded or public places). The prevalence of reported mitigation behaviors was lowest among younger adults (aged 18 to 29 years) and highest among older adults (aged ≥60 years) at each time point.

"Better understanding of barriers and motivators associated with participation in mitigation behaviors is needed to effectively employ strategies that promote engagement of younger adults and others who are not currently engaging in mitigation behaviors," the authors write. "Reaching these groups through targeted channels, trusted leaders, and influencers at national, state, and local levels has the potential to improve use and effectiveness of critical public health strategies to protect persons of all ages."

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