Public attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs related to COVID-19, stay-at-home orders, nonessential business closures, and public health guidance — United States, New York City, and Los Angeles, May 5–12, 2020
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Public attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs related to COVID-19, stay-at-home orders, nonessential business closures, and public health guidance — United States, New York City, and Los Angeles, May 5–12, 2020

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    What is already known about this topic?: Stay-at-home orders and recommended personal protective practices were disseminated to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the United States. What is added by this report?: During May 5–12, 2020, a survey among adults in New York City and Los Angeles and broadly across the United States found widespread support of stay-at-home orders and nonessential business closures and high degree of adherence to COVID-19 mitigation guidelines. Most respondents reported that they would feel unsafe if restrictions were lifted at the time of the survey. What are the implications for public health practice?: Routine assessment of public priorities can guide public health decisions requiring collective action. Current levels of public support for restrictions and adherence to mitigation strategies can inform decisions about reopening and balancing duration and intensity of restrictions. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is thought to be transmitted mainly by person-to-person contact (1). Implementation of nationwide public health orders to limit person-to-person interaction and of guidance on personal protective practices can slow transmission (2,3). Such strategies can include stay-at-home orders, business closures, prohibitions against mass gatherings, use of cloth face coverings, and maintenance of a physical distance between persons (2,3). To assess and understand public attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs related to this guidance and COVID-19, representative panel surveys were conducted among adults aged ≥18 years in New York City (NYC) and Los Angeles, and broadly across the United States during May 5–12, 2020. Most respondents in the three cohorts supported stay-at-home orders and nonessential business closures* (United States, 79.5%; New York City, 86.7%; and Los Angeles, 81.5%), reported always or often wearing cloth face coverings in public areas (United States, 74.1%, New York City, 89.6%; and Los Angeles 89.8%), and believed that their state’s restrictions were the right balance or not restrictive enough (United States, 84.3%; New York City, 89.7%; and Los Angeles, 79.7%). Periodic assessments of public attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs can guide evidence-based public health decision-making and related prevention messaging about mitigation strategies needed as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves. During May 5–12, 2020, a total of 4,042 adults aged ≥18 years in the United States were invited to complete a web-based survey administered by Qualtrics, LLC.† Surveys were conducted among residents of NYC and Los Angeles to enable comparison of the two most populous cities in the United States with each other and with the nationwide cohort (4). The nationwide survey did not exclude respondents from NYC and Los Angeles, but no respondent was counted in more than one cohort. Invited participants were recruited using methods to create panels representative of the 2010 U.S. Census by age, gender, race, and ethnicity (5). Overall, 2,402 respondents completed surveys (response rate = 59.4%); of these, 2,221 (92.5%) (United States cohort = 1,676, NYC cohort = 286, and Los Angeles cohort = 259) passed quality screening procedures§ (5); sample sizes provided a margin of error at 95% confidence levels of 2.4%, 5.7%, and 5.9%, respectively. Suggested citation for this article: Czeisler MÉ, Tynan MA, Howard ME, et al. Public Attitudes, Behaviors, and Beliefs Related to COVID-19, Stay-at-Home Orders, Nonessential Business Closures, and Public Health Guidance — United States, New York City, and Los Angeles, May 5–12, 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. ePub: 12 June 2020. mm6924e1-H.pdf
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