The new Franklin Templeton–Gallup Economics of Recovery Study found that many Americans are shockingly misinformed about the actual dangers of the COVID-19 (Chinese) coronavirus. While it’s certainly a serious and potentially deadly disease that we should all take reasonable precautions to avoid, most people believe it’s much more deadly than it really is, and to the wrong people.
Here are the three main findings, direct from the report:
1. "On average, Americans believe that people aged 55 and older account for just over half of total COVID-19 deaths; the actual figure is 92%.
2. Americans believe that people aged 44 and younger account for about 30% of total deaths; the actual figure is 2.7%.
3. Americans overestimate the risk of death from COVID-19 for people aged 24 and younger by a factor of 50; and they think the risk for people aged 65 and older is half of what it actually is (40% vs 80%)."
As the study points out, we’ve known since this started six months ago that by far the greatest danger is to older people and those with comorbidities like obesity or diabetes. So what’s to blame for this stunningly high level of incorrect beliefs? Partly, it’s just paranoia over our own health, but the two most common factors among those who believe false information are…brace yourselves for a shock…political partisanship (i.e., identifying as a Democrat) and getting your information from social media. I know, you could knock me over with a feather!
If you are a Democrat who gets your information mostly from other Democrats on social media, then COVID-19 may be terrifying you -- but it's probably not your biggest problem. To see some of the many ways in which believing this false information is hurting people personally and the nation in general, check out the rest of the study at the link.