Thursday, September 21, 2023

Are you socially distant? Your income can be important

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By Cara Murez

HealthDay reporter

TUESDAY January 19, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Keep 6 feet of each other to help stop coronavirus spread? New research shows that the richer you got at the start of the pandemic, the more likely it is that you will maintain social distancing.

The new study examined social distancing and mask wearing, and determined a link between these behaviors and income.

“We have to understand these differences because we can wring our hands, and we can blame and shame, but in a way it doesn’t matter,” said study author Nick Papageorge, Broadus Mitchell Associate Professor of Economics at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

“Policymakers just need to recognize who is going to socially lag, for how long, why, and under what circumstances to give us accurate predictions of how the disease is spreading and help us establish policies that will be helpful,” he said. he said in an article by Hopkins. Release.

The research was part of a survey conducted in six countries. In the United States, 1,000 people from Texas, Florida, California and New York were asked last April about demographics and their behavior as cases of COVID-19 increased.

Those with the highest incomes made the most changes. They were 32% more likely to increase social distancing, 30% more likely to increase handwashing and wearing masks, and 13% more likely to change behavior.

The ability to work from home and have access to an outdoor space has made a significant difference.

People with higher incomes were more likely to be able to work from home, making them 24% more likely to keep their social distances. The study found that people with lower incomes were more likely to lose their jobs due to the pandemic and also had limited access to remote work.

“The whole message of this pandemic is that you are stuck at home telecommuting, it must be really tough, so here are some recipes for the sourdough, and here is what you should catch up on on Netflix,” Papageorge said. “But what about the people who don’t telecommute? What are they going to do?”


People with access to the outdoors at home were 20% more likely to maintain social distancing.

“It’s not shocking that if you don’t live in a comfortable house, you are going to be leaving your house more often,” Papageorge said. “But the point we want to make is that if I’m a policy maker, maybe I really need to think about opening city parks in a dense neighborhood during a pandemic. Maybe it’s something worth the risk. That’s why we want to understand these details – they may possibly suggest policies. ”

The study also found that women were 23% more likely than men to be socially distanced. There was no significant difference in social distancing behavior due to pre-existing health issues.

The research was published Jan. 14 in the Journal of Population Economics.

More information

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more information on protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

SOURCE: Johns Hopkins University, press release, January 14, 2021

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