In March of 2020, the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic regarding the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). A few days later, a team of researchers begun conducting a new study now published online in JAMA Internal Medicine.
In their new study, researchers assessed and unveiled the top public concerns pertaining to the pandemic. They collected a total of 9,009 surveys between March 14th through the 16th, of participants most prevalently in mid-adulthood, White, and experienced coronavirus-like symptoms up to four weeks prior to the study.
“In this survey study, we aimed to rapidly assess public concerns about the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis in the United States before shelter-in-place orders were widely implemented,” according to the findings. “Specifically, we assessed concerns about COVID-19, symptoms, and individual actions in response to the pandemic.”
The cross-sectional surveys were distributed to the participants through various social media platforms, including Twitter and Facebook. The surveys gathered data on concerns, symptoms, and individual actions taken during the global pandemic, with the willing consent from the participants.
“Participants were informed of the purpose, risks, and benefits; minimal personal information (eg, zip code and Qualtrics location) was collected. The survey included 21 questions (multiple choice, single choice, numeric, and open ended). A paper version of the survey was pilot tested with 41 participants, who were not included in the final results,” the study’s co-authors wrote in the findings.
Among the top concerns respondents detailed included the presence of symptoms that were the result of COVID-19, a lack of medical care, and the inability to acquire hand sanitizer, food, and childcare at the height of the pandemic.
For a lower percentage of respondents, reduced wages in the workplace and loss of employment were noted as a top concern.
“With this convenience sampling that is not representative of the public at large and lack of information on participation rates, these findings are limited and are not generalizable,” researchers determined.
“Although we did not collect information on the socioeconomic status of participants, it was likely to have been high because few reported concerns about their employment.”
“We plan additional work that will achieve greater geographic representation with focus on longitudinal trends on the health, financial, and social concerns in the United States regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.”