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Latest findings from California Health Interview Survey, conducted by the Fielding School’s UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and led by Dr. Ninez Ponce, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of health policy and management, show continued fatigue with following safety guidelines
With more than 4.8 million cases and over 70,000 deaths due to COVID-19 in California, the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research (CHPR), led by Dr. Ninez Ponce, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of health policy and management, is continuing to track whether residents engaged in risk reduction behaviors such as wearing face coverings or maintaining physical distancing, impacts on personal and financial well-being, and their views on the vaccine.
The latest update to the 2021 CHIS COVID-19 Preliminary Estimates Dashboard, which adds responses from 3,932 Californians in July 2021, builds on previously released data collected from March through June of this year. The most recent data show declines in following safety guidelines, including an increase in gathering with members outside of the household, during a month when cases had spiked again. It also showed that Californians who tested positive for COVID-19 were more likely to experience difficulties paying for basic necessities and rent or mortgage than residents who tested negative. Being able to filter impacts by respondents “ever testing positive for COVID-19” was an added feature in the latest dashboard update.
“Given the unpredictable course of case and death rates that are rising and falling in different areas, there is a real need to keep tracking pandemic impacts and related changes in behaviors in California,” said Todd Hughes, CHIS director. “For example, as public health practitioners continue to urge following safety guidelines and getting the vaccine, it’s important to examine whether Californians are still engaging in practices that would mitigate the spread and continue the state’s fight against the pandemic.”
Key findings from the July 2021 data include:
Risk Reduction Behaviors
California adults who said they always wore face coverings when leaving their homes decreased by more than 40% between March and July 2021.
California adults who always maintained 6 feet distance from others when leaving their home in the past week dropped from 54% in March/April to 36.2% in July 2021.
69.9% of all California adults indicated they gathered with people not living in their households in the past 30 days in July, compared to 53.1% in March/April 2021.
Among adults who gathered with people not living in their households, 38.5% said they always followed state and local guidelines in July and 28.1% said they never or sometimes followed guidelines.
Personal and Financial Impacts
Adults who tested positive for COVID-19 were more likely to experience difficulties paying for basic necessities and rent/mortgage, have reduced job hours/income, and lose their jobs than adults who tested negative for COVID-19.
Personal and financial impacts, such as reduced job hours/income and difficulty paying for basic necessities and rent/mortgage varied by race/ethnicity, citizenship status, and other factors.
“The data we collected and are continuing to collect are being used to inform policymakers, community leaders, and other advocates so that they are able to effectively reach communities that are most in need,” Ponce said. “This actionable data can assist with outreach efforts to get more people vaccinated or enforce safety protocols to slow down and stop the spread of the disease and get the state on track for a complete recovery. It’s also critical to note that these data can be viewed and used by everyone — whether you’re a data analyst for the state, a grant writer for a nonprofit, a program manager for a community organization, on-the-ground outreach worker, or a concerned Californian.”
by Elaiza Torralba
The UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, founded in 1961, is dedicated to enhancing the public's health by conducting innovative research, training future leaders and health professionals from diverse backgrounds, translating research into policy and practice, and serving our local communities and the communities of the nation and the world. The school has 761 students from 26 nations engaged in carrying out the vision of building healthy futures in greater Los Angeles, California, the nation and the world.