Polls Find Most U.S. Young People Take COVID Seriously

By Cara Murez

HealthDay reporter

WEDNESDAY April 28, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Most young people want to protect others from COVID-19, according to surveys of young people aged 14 to 24 which suggest focusing on this message may be effective.

“Public health campaigns should capitalize on the desire of young people to protect others and not be the cause of the spread,” said Dr. Kao-Ping Chua, assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.

Chua is the lead author of a report in the May issue of Journal of Adolescent Health who analyzed data from MyVoice, a national survey of young people. It allows open responses to questions sent by SMS to a national sample of young people. The data came from several SMS surveys conducted in 2020.

About 86% of young people said they were moderately or very concerned about the spread of COVID.

Eighty-nine percent of those polled said they wore masks or other masks all or most of the time. The most common reason they gave was not to spread the coronavirus.

Almost 20% said they made exceptions when they were around people they considered close contacts or part of their ‘group’. About 16% based their mask-wearing behavior on social cues that included whether they felt they could trust the people they were with had been careful about limiting their exposure.

“Overall, young people believed they were doing the right thing and were following face coverage guidelines, even when making exceptions. At the time our data was collected, young people were engaged and concerned. by their impact on others, and overall they wanted to do their part, ”said first author Melissa DeJonckheere, assistant professor of family medicine, in an academic press release.

The researchers said, however, that young people may not have a strong motivation to get the vaccine to protect themselves. Therefore, a message like “Get vaccinated to protect your grandparents” might be more effective.

Across the country, adolescents and young adults now account for a growing share of COVID-19 cases. People aged 16 and over are now eligible for vaccination.

Other recent MyVoice articles found that equally high percentages of young people said they followed social distancing rules, but made exceptions for close contact. In some situations, it appears that young people have misinterpreted public health guidelines.

More information

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more information on COVID-19.

SOURCE: Michigan Medicine – University of Michigan, press release, April 23, 2021

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