Week 2 Survey of Social Distancing in North Carolina, April 4-6

April 9, 2020

This survey was designed by the Duke University COVID19 Digital Lab, a joint project of Duke Forge and the Duke University Social Science Research Institute, and conducted by Clarity+Campaign Labs. Project team members include Erich S. Huang, MD, PhD (Director, Duke Forge and Duke Crucible; Assistant Dean for Biomedical Informatics, Duke University School of Medicine), Jessilyn Dunn, PhD (Department of Biomedical Engineering, Duke Pratt School of Engineering), Kyle Endres, PhD (Duke Social Science Research Institute), Nick Eubank, PhD (Duke Social Science Research Institute), Dana Pasquale, PhD (Duke Social Science Research Institute), and Donald H. Taylor, Jr., PhD (Director, Duke Social Science Research Institute; Professor, Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University).


Background

The Duke Forge/Duke University Social Science Research Institute (SSRI) COVID19 Digital Lab commissioned a survey that was conducted for a second time by Clarity+ Campaign Labs (CCL) from April 4-6, 2020 to ask North Carolinians (N=1,426) about their social distancing behavior related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The first survey was conducted from March 29-31, 2020 (N=1,274). The survey will be repeated weekly in order to track any changes in self-reported behavior that may influence the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. All of the responses to the Week 2 survey asked about behavior after the statewide "Stay at Home" order issued by Governor Cooper took effect at 5:00 pm EDT on March 30, 2020.

Full details of the survey methodology, the questionnaire instrument and the data may be accessed and freely used (please see links at bottom under "Additional Resources").

The survey will be repeated weekly and results updated in order to track any changes in self-reported behavior that may influence the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. For the previous week's results summary, please click here: Survey of Social Distancing in North Carolina, March 29-31, 2020.


Summary of Results

North Carolinians continue to take social distancing seriously, but some continue to engage in behaviors that can spread the coronavirus. Virtually all North Carolinians answered affirmatively to the question “Are you currently practicing social distancing?” (97% answered "yes" vs 3% who answered "no") but other questions identify areas of continued risk of spread. On the whole, North Carolinians appear to be taking social distancing seriously, as shown by specific changes in behavior. There is some evidence that these changes are helping to reduce the number of new cases.

One potential note of concern: there was an increase in the number of adults reporting that a child in their household “has interacted in person with other children from a different household in the past 24 hours”: for Week 2, 23% said yes, an increase from the 17% noted the week before. One-third of households reported having at least one child as a member, and this is a potential source of COVID infection spread.

Virtually all North Carolinians answered affirmatively to the question “Are you currently practicing social distancing?” (97% yes vs. 3% no). North Carolinians continue to take social distancing seriously, but some continue to engage in behaviors that can spread the coronavirus.

There were several important risk factors for transmitting the coronavirus that held steady or improved from week 1 to week 2, as documented in the tables below.

Survey Response Details


Question: About how many people that do not live in your household have you had physical, face-to-face interactions with in the past 24 hours?

Number Week 1 Week 2
None 36% 39%
1 to 3 33% 38%
4 to 6 11% 10%
7 or more 19% 14%

 

 

 

 


Question: How many of those interactions were you able to stay at least 6 feet from the other person at all times? (Six feet is just far enough that if you and the other person both reached out your arms, you couldn’t touch one another.)

Number Week 1 Week 2
None 21% 19%
1 to 3 45% 54%
4 to 6 16% 13%
7 or more 19% 13%

 

 

 

 


Question: In the last week, how many times did you spend time in a group of more than 20 people? 

Number Week 1 Week 2
Never 78% 82%
1 to 3 15% 13%
4 to 6 2% 2%
7 or more 5% 2%

 

 

 

 


Question: Approximately how many times, if at all, did you wash your hands in the past 24 hours? (Your best guess is fine.)

Number Week 1 Week 2
None 0% 1%
1 to 3 4% 4%
4 to 6 18% 18%
7 or more 77% 77%

 

 

 

 

Several questions provide the respondents views about their personal risk of contracting the coronavirus, and their view of how most North Carolinians are responding to the current pandemic.


Question: Do you think it’s likely that you’ll get the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19?

 

Week 1 Week 2
Likely 13% 13%
Not likely 57% 59%
Unsure 30% 28%

Question: How would you describe the way most North Carolinians are dealing with the coronavirus outbreak? Would you say that most North Carolinians are underestimating the risk, reacting appropriately, or overreacting?

Reaction Week 1 Week 2
Underestimating risk 38% 37%
Reacting appropriately 52% 55%
Overreacting 9% 8%

Additional Resources

Contact Information

For questions about this survey and associated data, please contact Donald H. Taylor, Jr., PhD at don.taylor@duke.edu