At-Risk People Know Better, Still Flout COVID-19 Precautions

Published: Wednesday, March 31, 2021 - 8:05am
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People at greater risk for hospitalization or death from COVID-19 due to age or underlying medical conditions have good reason to take extra precautions.

But research in the journal JAMA Network Open paints a more complex picture of human behavior.

A survey of more than 6,000 adults finds older people and those with certain medical conditions mostly know they face greater risk for COVID-19 complications.

Those underlying illnesses included obesity, asthma, cancer, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, heart disease and chronic lung disease. People with high blood pressure or kidney disease were not significantly aware of their increased risks. 

Those with three or more risk factors, though more aware of the danger, only slightly reduced their risky activities.

Adults 70 and older knew they faced worse odds of serious illness or death but thought they were less likely to be infected.

Almost everyone reported wearing a mask, usually to a grocery store or pharmacy, but no one consistently did so, despite not having negative opinions on the subject.

More research is needed, but the authors suggest social pressures factor in to such choices.

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