By Robert Preidt
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, March 16, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Coronavirus is changing the way Americans go about their daily lives, a new survey shows.

Conducted March 10-12, the survey of 2,400 U.S. residents found that public health recommendations about how to guard against infection are starting to be followed by many in this country.

Among the findings: 85% of respondents said they’ve been washing their hands or using hand sanitizer more frequently; 7% said they’ve worn a face mask; 61% said they’d practiced some type of social distancing, with the most common (45%) being avoiding contact with high-risk people, and 25% have stayed away from restaurants in general.

The survey also found that 6% have canceled or postponed a medical appointment, 22% have been stockpiling food and water, and 50% have prayed.

“It looks like most people are taking some action,” said survey co-leader Wandi Bruine de Bruin, a professor of public policy, psychology and behavioral science at the University of Southern California.

“But not everyone is reporting that they are stepping up hand-washing, which seems like a potential concern unless they were already perfect at hand-washing,” Bruine de Bruin added in a USC news release.

Aside from health concerns, Americans were also worried about the financial fallout from coronavirus.

The survey found that 12% of respondents believed there was a fairly high chance (more than 25%) they could lose their job, and 18% said there was a fairly high chance (more than 25%) they could run out of money.

Of those with jobs, 59% said it would be difficult for them to work from home, according to the survey.

“The coronavirus is both a health threat and an economic threat,” said survey co-leader Daniel Bennett, a research assistant professor of economics at USC.

“The social distancing measures that are needed to limit transmission will also cause a lot of hardship. Many people do not feel that they can work remotely,” Bennett noted.

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SOURCE: University of Southern California, news release, March 13, 2020

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