Many U.S. Citizens Fabricated COVID Statistics, A New Study Finds

(HealthDay News) — On Monday, October 10, 2022, A nationwide survey shows that at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 40% of Americans lied about whether they had the virus or didn’t follow safety rules.

The December survey of 1,700 people found that 721 of them either lied about their COVID status or didn’t follow recommendations for public health.

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People didn’t follow quarantine rules, told the person they were about to see that they were taking more precautions than they were, and didn’t tell a doctor that they might have COVID or already had it. The survey also found that they lied about their vaccination status, saying they had been vaccinated when they hadn’t or that they hadn’t been vaccinated when they had.

Most of the time, people didn’t want to be open because they wanted to feel normal or have their own freedom. “COVID-19 safety measures can be difficult, but they work,” said co-author Andrea Gurmankin Levy, a professor of social sciences at Middlesex Community College in Connecticut.

Angela Fagerlin, head of population health sciences at the University of Utah Health and co-author of the study, said that the survey raises concerns about how people who don’t want to tell the truth about their health status, and who stick to masking, social distance, and public health measures could make the pandemic last longer and spread infectious diseases.

“Some people may think that if they lie once or twice about their COVID-19 status, it’s not a big deal,” Fagerlin said in a news release from the University of Utah. “But if our study is right and almost half of us are doing it, that’s a big problem that makes the pandemic last longer.”

Respondents gave many different reasons for lying. They didn’t think COVID was real or a big deal, they didn’t feel sick, they couldn’t miss work or stay home, they were following the advice of a public figure or celebrity, and it wasn’t anyone else’s business.

Levy said in the release, “When people lie about their COVID-19 status or what precautions they are taking, it can help spread disease in their community.” “That can be fatal for some people, especially before we had COVID vaccines.”

People under 60 and people who didn’t trust science were most likely to lie. About 60% of those who answered said they had asked a doctor for advice on how to prevent or treat COVID-19.

The misrepresentation was not linked to political beliefs, party membership, or religion, according to the study. Fagerlin said that, compared to other studies on this topic, this survey asked about a wider range of behaviors and had a lot more people take part.

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But the researchers said they couldn’t tell if people were telling the truth, and the results may be an underestimation of how often people lied about their health.

“This study goes a long way toward showing us what worries people have about the public health measures put in place in response to the pandemic and how likely they are, to be honest in the face of a global crisis,” said co-author Alistair Thorpe, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Utah Health. “Knowing that will help us get ready for the next wave of sickness that will hit the whole world.”

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