Public Intent to Comply with COVID-19 Public Health Recommendations

Robert P Lennon, Surav M Sakya, Erin L Miller, Bethany Snyder, Tonguç Yaman, Aleksandra E Zgierska, Mack T Ruffin, Lauren Jodi Van Scoy
Health Literacy Research and Practice 2020 August 6, 4 (3): e161-e165
Stay-at-home orders have been an essential component of coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) management in the United States. As states start lifting these mandates to reopen the economy, voluntary public compliance with public health recommendations may significantly influence the extent of resurgence in COVID-19 infection rates. Population-level risk from reopening may therefore be predicted from public intent to comply with public health recommendations. We are conducting a global, convergent design mixed-methods survey on public knowledge, perceptions, preferred health information sources, and understanding of and intent to comply with public health recommendations. With over 9,000 completed surveys from every US state and over 70 countries worldwide, to our knowledge this is the largest pandemic messaging study to date. Although the study is still ongoing, we have conducted an analysis of 5,005 US surveys completed from April 9-15, 2020 on public intent to comply with public health recommendations and offer insights on the COVID-19 pandemic-related risk of reopening. We found marked regional differences in intent to follow key public health recommendations. Regional efforts are urgently needed to influence public behavior changes to decrease the risk of reopening, particularly in higher-risk areas with low public intent to comply with preventive health recommendations. [HLRP: Health Literacy Research and Practice. 2020;4(3):e160-e165.].

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