Some Americans were less than truthful about COVID, precautions

Oct 10, 2022, 3:00 PM | Updated: Jan 5, 2023, 2:44 pm

survey truthful COVID...

FILE: Health care worker Jeni West gives a thumbs-up as the Salt Lake County Council voted in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022. The council voted to leave a 30-day county mask order in place. (Jeffrey D. Allred/ Deseret News)

(Jeffrey D. Allred/ Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — In a recent survey, four in 10 Americans told researchers they were less than truthful about their COVID-19 status during the height of the pandemic. They also said they did not use the preventative measures that state and federal health officials recommended.

The survey results were published Monday in the JAMA Network Open magazine in a study that was sponsored in part by the University of Utah.

Those who said they were not truthful about their COVID-19 or vaccination status said:

  • “I didn’t think COVID-19 was real,” or “it was no big deal,”
  • “It’s no one else’s business,”
  • “Didn’t feel sick,”
  • “I was following the advice of a celebrity or other public figure,”
  • “Couldn’t miss work to stay home.”

Why the survey was conducted

One of the study authors said they decided to research the question after seeing media reports about people who were dishonest about their vaccination status.

“When people are dishonest about their COVID-19 status or what precautions they are taking, it can increase the spread of disease in their community,” said lead author Andrea Gurmankin Levy, Ph.D., a professor of social sciences at Middlesex Community College in Connecticut.

“For some people, particularly before we had COVID vaccines, that can mean death.”

For the University of Utah’s Angela Fagerlin, Ph.D. and senior author of the study, the answers showed how a pandemic can be lengthened and how other infectious diseases can be spread. Fagerlin is the chair of the Department of Population Health Sciences at University of Utah Health.

How survey respondents said they were less than truthful

The survey of more than 1,700 Americans was conducted in December 2021. Among the most common incidents were

  • breaking quarantine rules,
  • telling someone they were with, or were about to see, they were taking more COVID-19 precautions than they actually were,
  • not mentioning that they might have had, or knew that they had, COVID-19 when entering a doctor’s office,
  • telling someone they were vaccinated when they weren’t,
  • saying they weren’t vaccinated when they actually were.

What researchers learned

Post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Population Health Sciences at U of U Health, Alistair Thorpe, said the study reveals concerns held by the American public around public health measures implemented during a pandemic. A more effective form of communication may be needed for future pandemics.

And it shows how likely people may be to be honest in the face of another global crisis.

“Knowing that will help us better prepare for the next wave of worldwide illness,” Thorpe said.

Related reading:


We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.


Chief of Police for Price City Police Department, Brandon Sicilie, holding PeeDee....

Britt Johnson

Abandoned puppy finds a home at the Price Police Department

PeeDee, a puppy found on the side of a roadway during a dispatch call, has found a new home with the Price City Police Department.

17 hours ago

cdc sign shown, the agency updated its covid guidelines...

Brenda Goodman, CNN

CDC drops 5-day isolation guidance for Covid-19, moving away from key strategy to quell infections

The CDC says it’s updating its guidance for Covid-19 to bring it in line with its advice for other kinds of respiratory infections, including influenza and RSV.

20 hours ago

baby feet, utah postpartum retreat helps new moms...

Britt Johnson

Utah company aims to help postpartum moms with special retreats

The founder of Utah Postpartum Retreat said she thinks new moms are at high risk for developing postpartum mood disorders because they lack support.

1 day ago

A nurse works in the laboratory room in El Nuevo San Juan Health Center at the Bronx borough in New...

Tammy Kikuchi

Skeptics have doubts about universal health care model for Utah

One of the biggest concerns is affordability, according to a recent presentation at the Kem C. Gardener Policy Institute.

3 days ago

FILE: Vietnam War veterans gather for a photograph following a ceremony to recognize and honor Viet...

Eric Cabrera

Veterans can soon sign up for the largest-ever expansion of VA health benefits

On March 5, vets who served in a combat zone, beginning with the Vietnam war, can directly enroll in VA healthcare.

4 days ago

Liver and kidney transplant patient Luis Campos says he's grateful he had a Spanish-speaking team....

Eric Cabrera

Murray kidney clinic helping the Latino community

MURRAY, Utah — Intermountain Health has taken steps to address healthcare in Latino communities by opening Utah’s first fully Spanish-speaking Kidney Transplant Clinic. The Intermountain Clinica Hispana de Riñon (Hispanic Kidney Clinic), in Murray, aims to provide a space for members of the Latino community navigating the complex kidney transplant process. The clinic has bilingual professionals, […]

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Some Americans were less than truthful about COVID, precautions