Many Americans still ignore safety precautions for COVID-19, one-fifth will refuse a vaccine, reports study by the USC Center for the Digital Future

Six months into the most severe global pandemic in more than a century, are Americans complying with basic precautions to avoid infection with the coronavirus? And will they be vaccinated when a proven treatment for COVID-19 is released?

For many Americans, the answer to both questions is, “No.”

A study of the social impact of COVID-19 by the Center for the Digital Future found that while large numbers of Americans do indeed use recommended precautions against infection and spread of the disease, alarmingly high percentages do not participate in these safety programs, and one-fifth will refuse to receive a vaccine.

Do you wear a mask and participate in social distancing?

The Center’s study found many people — but not all — take precautions to avoid infection with the coronavirus.

Eighty-three percent of Americans said they participate in social distancing. However, only 77% say they wear a mask. 

Will you get a vaccine?

When asked if they will be vaccinated against COVID-19 when a treatment is ready, 52% said they will “wait and see” how the vaccine affects other people and then probably get it, while 20% said they are “not interested” in getting a vaccine. Only 28% said they would get a vaccine as soon as possible.

The Coronavirus Disruption Project

The first round of the Center’s Coronavirus Disruption Study, released April 29, revealed many changes — both positive and negative — in relationships, emotional stability, and behavior since the COVID-19 pandemic and safer-at-home restrictions began.  The second round of the study, conducted June 19-26, added new questions about political behavior and compared views about working from home, education, media, entertainment, shopping, and political outlooks.

The findings are based on the results of surveys of 1,000 respondents conducted in English from an online panel, with a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points. 

The Center for the Digital Future: revealing disruption for two decades

For more than 20 years, the Center for the Digital Future at USC Annenberg (digitalcenter.org) has explored the impact of digital technologies on the behavior and views of users and non-users. The center also studies disruption in the lives of Americans and the corporate world.