Nav: Home

CUNY SPH weekly COVID-19 survey update week 10

May 18, 2020

In the latest CUNY SPH COVID-19 tracking survey, New Yorkers gave convincing evidence that the city is not yet testing enough people and set high expectations for the safety measures they feel are necessary for them to return to work outside their homes. They are also uncertain about reopening public schools, colleges or universities in the fall. These are the major findings of the ninth city and statewide tracking survey from the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy (CUNY SPH), conducted May 15-17.

Almost a quarter (23%) of New York residents reported that one or more persons in their household has been sick with fever or symptoms consistent with COVID-19 since the coronavirus struck, but only half of those people were tested and more than three quarters of them tested positive for COVID-19.

There were stark differences based on race and ethnicity: one or more people were sick at home in 36% of Hispanic/Latinx households compared to 23% of Caucasian, 13% African American and 12% Asian ones. Of those who were tested for coronavirus, the highest percentage of people testing positive were Hispanic/Latinx (a startling 90%), followed by African Americans (65%), Caucasians (58%) and Asians (50%).

"These results indicate that at present we are still testing only the sickest New Yorkers," said Dr. Ayman El-Mohandes, Dean of CUNY SPH. "If our goal is to reopen the city safely, most of those tested should be testing negative, which would mean that the spread of the virus is on the decline. We cannot open up until we ramp up our testing of people without symptoms, and conduct thorough follow-up contact tracing."

Despite the decline in confirmed cases and hospitalizations in the city, New Yorkers' concerns about the virus remain high. Just more than half (51%) of residents believe that they are at high or very high risk of contracting COVID-19. Almost seven out of ten (69%) are either opposed to or uncertain about reopening public schools in the fall.

Before the virus struck, 26% of employed New Yorkers were working from home. That number has shot up to 70% since the epidemic, and 40% of people who are currently working from home say they would prefer to continue doing so for the foreseeable future. The majority of respondents working from home now are Asian (54%) or Caucasian (51%) compared to African American (35%) and Hispanic/Latinx (23%). Working at home also correlates with educational level. Of those who have undergraduate or post-graduate degrees, more than 60% are working from home, compared to 30% with some college and 22% with high school educations.

When this subgroup was asked why they would not want to return to work outside the home, their primary concern (76%) was fear of bringing the virus home to their families, while 69% reported anxiety about using public transportation like buses and subways. A similar number (68%) said they feared getting sick themselves.

The survey also asked all respondents what precautions they felt needed to be in place to make them feel safer at work. The greatest number (84%) said that the availability of a vaccine or medicine against coronavirus or regular sanitization of the workplace would make them more confident, followed closely (82%) by requiring that face masks be worn at work at all times. Further preferences for workplace precautions were also favored by substantial majorities:
  • 79% wanted people who enter building/workplace to report any symptoms
  • 77% wanted greater spacing between people
  • 77% wanted workplace testing and tracing
  • 72% wanted people's temperatures to be taken as they entered the building

Many New Yorkers are uncertain about their future work. More than one in five (21%) believe there will no longer be a demand for their product or service when the economy reopens. About one in four who lost their jobs or were furloughed as a result of the epidemic plan to change their career path.

Of the 22% of New Yorkers who reported being furloughed or laid off, three in five (61%) said they had filed applications for unemployment benefits. Of those that applied, half (50%) are still waiting for their first check, 41% have received benefits and 9% were rejected.

Seventeen percent (17%) of our respondents classified themselves as self-employed or small business owners. Of those, 42% report applying for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan or Paycheck Protection Program. Nearly everyone that applied was accepted, and two-thirds (67%) said they had received their loans. An additional 16% reported that they received their loans but will return the money, since they were unable to meet the conditions. A further 16% are waiting to hear the status of their applications.

The complete survey results and related commentary can be found at https://sph.cuny.edu/research/covid-19-tracking-survey/week-10 and JHC Impact, an initiative of the Journal of Health Communication: International Perspectives.

Survey methodology:

The CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy (CUNY SPH) survey was conducted by Emerson College Polling from May 15-17, 2020 (week 10). This tracking effort started March 13-15 (week 1), and continued with questions fielded March 20-22 (week 2) and March 27-29 (week 3), April 3-5, 2020 (week 4), April 10-12, 2020 (week 5), April 17-29 (week 6), April 24-26, 2020 (week 7), May 1-3, 2020 (week 8).

The sample for the NY Statewide and New York City results were both, n=1,000, with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll's margin of error (MOE) of +/- 3 percentage points. The data sets were weighted by gender, age, ethnicity, education and region based on the 2018 1-year American Community Survey model. It is important to remember that subsets based on gender, age, ethnicity and region carry with them higher margins of error, as the sample size is reduced. In the New York City results, data was collected using an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines (n=475), SMS-to-online (n=327) and an online panel provided by MTurk and Survey Monkey (n=197). In the Statewide results, data was collected using an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines (n=469), SMS-to-online (n=319) and an online panel provided by MTurk and Survey Monkey (n=212).

In the statewide survey regions were broken out into the following:
  • Region 1: Long Island 14.7% (USC1-4), Shirley, Seaford, Glen Cove, Garden City

  • Region 2: NYC 45.3% (USC 5-16) Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island, Bronx

  • Region 3: Upstate 40% (USC 17-27): Albany, Harrison, Carmel, Rhinebeck, Amsterdam, Schuylerville, Utica, Corning, Irondequoit, Buffalo, Rochester

-end-
The CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy (CUNY SPH) is committed to teaching, research, and service that creates a healthier New York City and helps promote equitable, efficient, and evidence-based solutions to pressing health problems facing cities around the world.

CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy

Related Public Health Articles:

COVID-19 and the decolonization of Indigenous public health
Indigenous self-determination, leadership and knowledge have helped protect Indigenous communities in Canada during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, and these principles should be incorporated into public health in future, argue the authors of a commentary in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) http://www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.200852.
Public health consequences of policing homelessness
In a new study examining homelessness, researchers find that policy such a lifestyle has massive public health implications, making sleeping on the street even MORE unhealthy.
Electronic health information exchange improves public health disease reporting
Disease tracking is an important area of focus for health departments in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pandemic likely to cause long-term health problems, Yale School of Public Health finds
The coronavirus pandemic's life-altering effects are likely to result in lasting physical and mental health consequences for many people--particularly those from vulnerable populations--a new study led by the Yale School of Public Health finds.
The Lancet Public Health: US modelling study estimates impact of school closures for COVID-19 on US health-care workforce and associated mortality
US policymakers considering physical distancing measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 face a difficult trade-off between closing schools to reduce transmission and new cases, and potential health-care worker absenteeism due to additional childcare needs that could ultimately increase mortality from COVID-19, according to new modelling research published in The Lancet Public Health journal.
The Lancet Public Health: Access to identification documents reflecting gender identity may improve trans mental health
Results from a survey of over 20,000 American trans adults suggest that having access to identification documents which reflect their identified gender helps to improve their mental health and may reduce suicidal thoughts, according to a study published in The Lancet Public Health journal.
The Lancet Public Health: Study estimates mental health impact of welfare reform, Universal Credit, in Great Britain
The 2013 Universal Credit welfare reform appears to have led to an increase in the prevalence of psychological distress among unemployed recipients, according to a nationally representative study following more than 52,000 working-age individuals from England, Wales, and Scotland over nine years between 2009-2018, published as part of an issue of The Lancet Public Health journal on income and health.
BU researchers: Pornography is not a 'public health crisis'
Researchers from the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) have written an editorial in the American Journal of Public Health special February issue arguing against the claim that pornography is a public health crisis, and explaining why such a claim actually endangers the health of the public.
The Lancet Public Health: Ageism linked to poorer health in older people in England
Ageism may be linked with poorer health in older people in England, according to an observational study of over 7,500 people aged over 50 published in The Lancet Public Health journal.
Study: Public transportation use linked to better public health
Promoting robust public transportation systems may come with a bonus for public health -- lower obesity rates.
More Public Health News and Public Health Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: The Power Of Spaces
How do spaces shape the human experience? In what ways do our rooms, homes, and buildings give us meaning and purpose? This hour, TED speakers explore the power of the spaces we make and inhabit. Guests include architect Michael Murphy, musician David Byrne, artist Es Devlin, and architect Siamak Hariri.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#576 Science Communication in Creative Places
When you think of science communication, you might think of TED talks or museum talks or video talks, or... people giving lectures. It's a lot of people talking. But there's more to sci comm than that. This week host Bethany Brookshire talks to three people who have looked at science communication in places you might not expect it. We'll speak with Mauna Dasari, a graduate student at Notre Dame, about making mammals into a March Madness match. We'll talk with Sarah Garner, director of the Pathologists Assistant Program at Tulane University School of Medicine, who takes pathology instruction out of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

What If?
There's plenty of speculation about what Donald Trump might do in the wake of the election. Would he dispute the results if he loses? Would he simply refuse to leave office, or even try to use the military to maintain control? Last summer, Rosa Brooks got together a team of experts and political operatives from both sides of the aisle to ask a slightly different question. Rather than arguing about whether he'd do those things, they dug into what exactly would happen if he did. Part war game part choose your own adventure, Rosa's Transition Integrity Project doesn't give us any predictions, and it isn't a referendum on Trump. Instead, it's a deeply illuminating stress test on our laws, our institutions, and on the commitment to democracy written into the constitution. This episode was reported by Bethel Habte, with help from Tracie Hunte, and produced by Bethel Habte. Jeremy Bloom provided original music. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.     You can read The Transition Integrity Project's report here.