MONDAY, March 23, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Americans’ understanding of safety measures to protect themselves from COVID-19 is increasing, according to an ongoing survey conducted by researchers at the Center for Economic and Social Research at the University of Southern California (USC) Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and the Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics.

Daniel Bennett, Ph.D., from the USC Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research, and Wändi Bruine de Bruin, Ph.D., from the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics — both in Los Angeles — are conducting an ongoing national survey of 5,414 adult residents of the United States regarding perceptions and attitudes related to COVID-19. Respondents are asked the same questions at periodic intervals throughout the duration of the pandemic to track how their lives and beliefs have changed.

According to the results of the survey, just over one in four respondents (27 percent) believe they have less than a 1 percent chance of becoming infected, while more than four in 10 (43 percent) rate their odds of infection at less than 10 percent. Fewer Americans (13 percent) believe they have a 50 to 60 percent chance of getting the virus in the next three months. Only 6 percent of respondents rate their odds of infection at more than 60 percent. The vast majority of those surveyed recognize the value of hand washing and using sanitizer as being extremely effective protection (92 percent), while 85 percent see value in avoiding airplanes, public spaces, and crowds as effective safety strategies.

“People seem to be getting the message to step up their hand hygiene and implement social distancing measures,” Bruine de Bruin said in a statement. “As news developed over the week the survey was in the field, we actually saw an uptick in the percentage of people who recognized the effectiveness of important safety measures.”

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