Survey Finds COVID-19 Concern Among People with Chronic Conditions Has Returned to Early Pandemic Levels
– More than seven in 10 felt others aren’t taking coronavirus seriously enough –
PHILADELPHIA – August 19, 2020 – The percentage of people with chronic health conditions who feel concerned about COVID-19 has risen again to early pandemic levels, according to findings from a new Health Union survey. The survey is the fourth in Health Union’s ongoing COVID-19 Consumer Attitudes and Health Behaviors Survey series that captures “snapshots in time” that track the perspectives and health behaviors of people with chronic conditions throughout the pandemic.
Representing a return to early levels of uneasiness, 69% of respondents of the wave 4 survey, which fielded in July, said they feel concerned about COVID-19 (“feeling concerned” was represented by the top two selections on a seven-point scale). Although this is less than the 71% who expressed concern during the first wave survey, which fielded in March, it’s an increase from 67% in April’s wave 2 survey. It’s also a statistically significant increase from 64% in May’s wave 3 survey.
COVID concern was even greater within these latest survey findings for people living with respiratory conditions, like asthma and COPD (both 74%), as well as respondents with breast cancer (80%) and psoriatic arthritis (75%).
The degree to which respondents felt concerned also varied based on region. On the high end, three-fourths of respondents from the Middle Atlantic states of New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania said they felt concerned about COVID-19. On the low end, 61% of respondents from the Mountain states of Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming said they felt concerned.
Although an increase in concern could derive from a number of factors, one potential contributor is feeling other people aren’t taking the coronavirus seriously enough (represented by the top two selections on a seven-point scale). More than seven in 10 wave 4 respondents felt this way, up from 54% in wave 2 and 58% in wave 3.
“People living with chronic health conditions are impacted by the coronavirus pandemic in unique ways – physically, emotionally and socially,” said Tim Armand, Health Union’s co-founder and president. “It’s important for us to understand how their perspectives might differ from the general population, as well as the types of information, connection and support they need during these uncertain and stressful times.”
The amount of respondents taking commonly discussed actions to combat COVID-19 has steadily remained high throughout the four rounds of surveys. In this most recent survey, 94% said they are still social distancing, 92% said they are staying home more often or avoiding public places, nine in 10 are avoiding large gatherings and 89% are washing their hands more frequently.
Of note, though, there has been an increase from wave 3 to wave 4 – from 87% to 92% – in the percentage of respondents wearing personal protective equipment, like masks. The amount of people who reported cleaning, disinfecting or sanitizing personal items has also increased from 76% to 80%.
On the other hand, the amount of respondents who said they have made changes representing a “return to normal” has increased, from 33% in wave 3 to 54% in wave 4. However, the most common change, at 29%, has been returning to in-person HCP visits.
Wave four of Health Union’s COVID-19 Consumer Attitudes and Health Behaviors Survey, which was fielded July 21-23, includes responses from 1,777 respondents living with chronic health conditions. The respondents were recruited from Health Union’s portfolio of online health communities. Additional survey results may be available upon request.
Findings from the previous three survey waves – in the form of blog posts, infographics, a webinar and a white paper – can be accessed via Health Union’s COVID-19 Resource Center.
About Health Union, LLC
Since 2010, Health Union has encouraged social interactions that evolve into valuable online health conversations, helping people with chronic conditions find the information, connection, and validation they seek. The company creates condition-specific online communities – publishing original, daily content and continuously cultivating social conversation – to support, educate and connect millions of people with challenging, chronic health concerns. Today, the Health Union family of brands includes 29 online health communities, including LungCancer.net, ParkinsonsDisease.net, MultipleSclerosis.net and Migraine.com.