This cross-sectional study presents data from a national survey of COVID-19 knowledge, beliefs, and behavior among adult residents of the US between March 29 to April 13, 2020.
The survey included 5198 US adults. Findings reveal gaps in reported incidence of COVID-19 and knowledge regarding its spread and symptoms and social distancing behavior. Specifically:
- The survey respondents were mean [SD] age, 48  years; 2336 men [45%]; 3759 white [72%], 830 [16%] African American, and 609 [12%] Hispanic
- The largest differences in COVID-19-related knowledge and behaviors were associated with race/ethnicity, sex, and age, with African American participants, men, and people younger than 55 years showing less knowledge than other groups
- African American respondents were 3.5 percentage points (95% CI, 1.5 to 5.5 percentage points; P = .001) more likely than white respondents to report being infected with COVID-19, as were men compared with women (3.2 percentage points; 95% CI, 2.0 to 4.4 percentage points; P < .001)
- Knowing someone who tested positive for COVID-19 was more common among African American respondents (7.2 percentage points; 95% CI, 3.4 to 10.9 percentage points; P < .001), people younger than 30 years (11.6 percentage points; 95% CI, 7.5 to 15.7 percentage points; P < .001), and people with higher incomes (coefficient on earning ≥$100 000, 12.3 percentage points; 95% CI, 8.7 to 15.8 percentage points; P < .001)
- Knowledge of potential fomite spread was lower among African American respondents (-9.4 percentage points; 95% CI, -13.1 to -5.7 percentage points; P < .001), Hispanic respondents (-4.8 percentage points; 95% CI, -8.9 to -0.77 percentage points; P = .02), and people younger than 30 years (-10.3 percentage points; 95% CI, -14.1 to -6.5 percentage points; P < .001)
- Similar gaps were found with respect to knowledge of COVID-19 symptoms and preventive behaviors
Findings suggest that more effort is needed to increase accurate information and encourage appropriate behaviors among minority communities, men, and younger people.