A national survey involving Rutgers University details the link between COVID-19 misinformation between social groups and its intersection with trust in the government, media, science and medicine
The COVID States Project has examined the over-time shifts in COVID-19 vaccine misperceptions since the start of the pandemic. The project in their latest survey explored whether those who believe misinformation are aware that their views contradict the prevailing opinion of scientists and medical experts, highlight the connection between COVID-19 misinformation and trust in the government, media, science and medicine and update findings linking misperceptions with attitudes towards the COVID-19 vaccine.
Katherine Ognyanova, an associate professor of communication at the Rutgers University School of Communication and Information, said, “The more people trust the government, the media, science, the more likely they are to disbelieve misinformation about vaccines and the more likely they are to get vaccinated.”
The project reported a decline in believing misinformation since the early days of COVID-19 vaccination efforts in 2021, with 16% of Americans still holding vaccine misperceptions. Close to half (46%) are uncertain about the veracity of at least one vaccine misinformation statement.
The profile of someone most likely to hold vaccine misperception are aged 25 to 44, parents with children under 18, Americans who did not go to college, and Republicans, with over 20% of the respondents in each group marking at least one misinformation statement as true.
A third of respondents who believe vaccine misinformation statements are aware that scientific and medical experts reject those claims as false. Additionally, over a fifth of Americans (21%) are aware that science considers a particular claim to be false, but still say they are not sure whether to believe it or not.
People who think they know a lot about COVID-19 vaccines are more likely to hold vaccine misperceptions, according to the project’s findings. Among those who claimed to have expert knowledge, 48% believed false claims compared to only 16% of those who said they knew almost nothing about vaccines.
As for a shift since their first survey was conducted earlier in the pandemic, people with high socioeconomic status were amongst the most likely to hold vaccine misperceptions. Over time, people with graduate degrees and those with high income made large shifts towards rejecting misinformation. The groups least likely to espouse false claims now include graduate degree holders, Democrats, Asian Americans, and those over 65 years of age
Vaccine misinformation beliefs, uncertainty about false claims, trust in government and science remain among the most important predictors of getting vaccinated, even after accounting for demographic and other factors. Compared to those with no vaccine misperceptions, Americans who believe misinformation claims are less likely to trust the government, news media, science, and medicine. That pattern is reversed with regard to trust in Fox News and Donald Trump.
The COVID States Project is a joint project of the School of Communication and Information at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, the Network Science Institute of Northeastern University, the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy of Harvard University, Harvard Medical School and the Department of Political Science and Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University.
Between December 22, 2021, and January 24, 2022, the project surveyed 18,782 individuals across all 50 states plus the District of Columbia. The survey was conducted by PureSpectrum via an online. This was the latest in a series of surveys we have been conducting since April 2020,examining attitudes and behaviors regarding COVID-19 in the United States.
The cumulative number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New Jersey as of Feb. 21 was 1,865,320 with 569 total new PCR cases—the lowest day count since Aug. 26, 2021. There were 112 probable cases, bringing the cumulative total of antigen tests to 293,500. The total number of individual cases for the state is 2,158,820.
As for those that have passed, the state reported 10 confirmed deaths, bringing that total to 29,762. The state listed probable deaths at 2,949, bringing the overall total to 32,711. State officials noted 15 deaths occurred in the last 24 hours of reporting that have not yet been lab confirmed.
As for the rate of transmission reported Feb. 21, it increased to 0.63 from 0.61 two days ago. The daily rate of infections from those tested Feb. 17 was 3.1%; by region, the rate was 2.7% in the North, 3.4% in the Central region and 4.1% in the South.
The state’s dashboard had a count of 1,032 patients hospitalized as all 71 hospitals in the Garden State filed reports Feb. 21. By region, there were 377 in the North, 341 in the Central and 314 in the South. Of those hospitalized, 179 are in intensive care units and 123 on ventilators. A total of 132 patients were discharged in the last 24 hour reporting period.
Officials have continually cited transmission rate, hospitalizations, intensive care units, ventilators and positivity rate as health data they rely on to track how the coronavirus is being contained in New Jersey, guiding them in determining when restrictions have to be tightened or lifted.
Long-term Care Facilities
Health officials noted 504 long-term care facilities are currently reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 26,268 of the cases, broken down between 12,133 residents and 14,145 staff.
Cumulatively, 2,360 long-term care facilities have reported an outbreak infecting 46,588 residents and 37,821 staff, for a total of 84,409.
The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 9,219 on Feb. 18. The facilities are reporting to the state 8,484 residents deaths and 149 staff deaths.
The number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in New Jersey totaled 13,605,845 in-state, plus an additional 557,247 administered out-of-state for a grand total of 14,163,092 as of Feb. 21.
Of those who have received the vaccine, 6,479,292 received their second dose or the one jab Johnson & Johnson dose in state and another 222,775 out of state, bringing those fully vaccinated to 6,702,067. With just under 8.5 million eligible in New Jersey to be vaccinated, 77% are fully vaccinated and 91% have received at least one dose.
State officials reported boosters and third shots of 1,554,563 for Pfizer and 1,304,684 for Moderna. A total of 63,212 New Jerseyans have received their Johnson & Johnson booster shot. Overall, 2,922,459 have received a booster or third shot. Overall, 51% of the 5.7 million of those eligible have received their booster.
In North Jersey, Bergen County has 710,601 residents fully vaccinated, Essex 577,315, Hudson 516,712, Morris 381,119, Passaic 351,228, Sussex 91,345, and Warren 59,434.
According to the state dashboard with 64.6% of all New Jersey schools reporting, new student cases totaled 3,910 and new staff cases 1,036 in the last week as of Feb. 6. Cumulatively, 132,263 cases have been reported— 103,614 students and 28,649 staffers.
In regards to outbreaks related to in-school transmissions as of Feb. 15, the state has tracked 503 school outbreaks and 3,433 cases linked to those outbreaks since the 2021/2022 school year starting Aug. 7, up 19 outbreaks and 178 cases from the week previous.
Outbreaks are defined as three or more laboratory confirmed COVID-19 cases among students or staff with onsets within a 14 day period, linked within the school setting, do not share a household, and were not identified as close contacts of each other in another setting during standard case investigation or contact tracing.
For North Jersey in the new report, Bergen County has 57 confirmed outbreaks with 328 cases, Morris County has 40 confirmed outbreaks with 246 cases, Essex County has 33 confirmed outbreaks with 232 cases, Passaic County has 22 confirmed outbreaks with 188 cases, Sussex has 34 confirmed outbreaks with 177 cases, Hudson County has 19 confirmed outbreaks with 92 cases and Warren County has two confirmed outbreaks with 15 cases.