Poll Finds Many Americans Heeding Advice on Coronavirus

a person in a surgical mask over the face against the background of the USA flag

MONDAY, March 16, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Coronavirus is changing the way Americans go about their daily lives, a new survey shows.

Conducted March 10-12, the survey of 2,400 U.S. residents found that public health recommendations about how to guard against infection are starting to be followed by many in this country.

Among the findings: 85% of respondents said they've been washing their hands or using hand sanitizer more frequently; 7% said they've worn a face mask; 61% said they'd practiced some type of social distancing, with the most common (45%) being avoiding contact with high-risk people, and 25% have stayed away from restaurants in general.

The survey also found that 6% have canceled or postponed a medical appointment, 22% have been stockpiling food and water, and 50% have prayed.

"It looks like most people are taking some action," said survey co-leader Wandi Bruine de Bruin, a professor of public policy, psychology and behavioral science at the University of Southern California.

"But not everyone is reporting that they are stepping up hand-washing, which seems like a potential concern unless they were already perfect at hand-washing," Bruine de Bruin added in a USC news release.

Aside from health concerns, Americans were also worried about the financial fallout from coronavirus.

The survey found that 12% of respondents believed there was a fairly high chance (more than 25%) they could lose their job, and 18% said there was a fairly high chance (more than 25%) they could run out of money.

Of those with jobs, 59% said it would be difficult for them to work from home, according to the survey.

"The coronavirus is both a health threat and an economic threat," said survey co-leader Daniel Bennett, a research assistant professor of economics at USC.

"The social distancing measures that are needed to limit transmission will also cause a lot of hardship. Many people do not feel that they can work remotely," Bennett noted.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outlines how to protect against the coronavirus.

Robert Preidt

Robert Preidt

Updated on March 16, 2020

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