TUESDAY, April 7, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Serious concerns are associated with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and many individuals are preparing by washing hands and self-isolating, according to a research letter published online April 7 in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Lorene M. Nelson, Ph.D., from Stanford University in California, and colleagues questioned participants on three social media platforms to assess concerns about COVID-19, symptoms, and individual actions in response to the pandemic. A total of 9,009 surveys were completed from March 14 to 16, 2020.
The researchers found that 67.3 percent of 8,950 respondents reported being very or extremely concerned about COVID-19, with concern varying by age. Of these respondents, 95.7 percent reported making lifestyle changes in response to COVID-19, most commonly more hand washing, avoiding social gatherings, and stockpiling food and supplies (93.1, 89.0, and 74.7 percent, respectively). In addition, 19.2 and 49.8 percent reported self-isolating all of the time and self-isolating most of the time, only leaving to buy food and essentials, respectively. The main concerns were getting sick due to COVID-19 and not being able to receive medical care (70.1 and 46.3 percent, respectively). Difficulties that were reported most commonly included obtaining hand sanitizer, food, and childcare. Of 6,689 respondents, 14.7 and 1.5 percent reported reduced wages or work hours and having lost their jobs because of the crisis, respectively.
"There was variation in the levels of concern about COVID-19 in different age groups, and the most common difficulties were getting hand sanitizer or food, arranging childcare, and lost wages or reduced working hours," the authors write.