Pew Study: Contact tracing efforts face skepticism, participation challenges | The Numbers Racket

By: - November 23, 2020 6:30 am

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

An October study by the Pew Research Center found that while most Americans are aware of contact tracing efforts nationwide, there are many challenges tracers face, including participation, skepticism about the process of data collection and spam concerns. 

Let’s take a closer look: 

Quick Findings

70 … the percentage of Americans who said they had at least some awareness of contact tracing as of July. 

48 … the percentage of Americans who said they would be comfortable or likely to engage with key steps in contact tracing to control COVID-19, such as speaking, sharing and quarantining. 

58 … the percentage of Americans who said they would be very or somewhat likely to speak with a public health official who contacted them by phone or text message to speak with them about the coronavirus outbreak. 

93 … the percentage of Americans who said they would quarantine if advised to do so.

Suspicion 

For many Americans, their reservations about participating in contact tracing efforts are related to concerns about privacy, security and phishing. 

Forty-nine percent of U.S. adults said they think people pretend to be someone else in order to try and steal people’s personal information often. 

Another 42 percent said that they think that happens sometimes and just 9 percent said it rarely/never happens. 

Just 19 percent of Americans answer to see who it is when an unknown number calls.Eighty percent of Americans said they do not answer the phone for unknown callers. 

Partisan Perception 

The study found that Republicans were more likely to be skeptical or hesitant of the contact tracing process. 

52 … the percentage of Republicans who are not at all or not too confident that the federal government will keep their personal records safe from hackers and unauthorized users. 

51 … the percentage of Republicans who are not at all or not too comfortable that public health organizations will keep their personal records safe from hackers and unauthorized users.

22 … the percentage of Republicans who are not at all or not too comfortable that their medical doctors or health care providers will keep their personal records safe from hackers and unauthorized users. 

Here’s how Democrats responded: 

48 … the percentage of Democrats who are not at all or not too confident that the federal government will keep their personal records safe from hackers and unauthorized users. 

31 … the percentage of Democrats who are not at all or not too comfortable that public health organizations will keep their personal records safe from hackers and unauthorized users.

15 … the percentage of Democrats who are not at all or not too comfortable that their medical doctors or health care providers will keep their personal records safe from hackers and unauthorized users. 

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry. Miller has an extensive background in magazine writing, editing and design. She is a graduate of Penn State University where she served as the campus newspaper’s photo editor. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in professional journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In addition to her role at the Capital-Star, Miller enjoys working on her independent zines, Dead Air and Infrared. Follow her on Twitter: @Wordsby_CassieM.

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