Research finds men less likely to follow social distancing rules

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Social distancing has become the new normal, but not all are following the guidelines.

According to Altarum, an Ann Arbor-based research firm that supports Michigan’s public health, surveillance and outbreak management systems, men are less likely to follow social distancing rules.

Over 16,000, Michigan residents completed the tracking survey about COVID-19 perspectives, attitudes and behaviors since March 19 and it found that 9% of men are unlikely to follow the shelter-in-place order by the governor as compared to 4% women.

The results also showed men are less likely to take the appropriate public health precautions. Altarum found that 90% of women reported avoiding public spaces a lot more, while only 76% of men avoided public spaces.

The majority of women, 85%, reported they maintain 6 feet or more distance from others, while 77% of men acknowledged doing the same.

In the final week of March, 11% of men attended gatherings of 10 people or more as compared to 5% of women doing the same. About half of men reported working outside the home, while 41% of women worked outside the home, according to the report.

Altarum also reported men are less concerned about COVID-19, 33% of men rated their concern as less than 8 on a 0 to 10 scale, compared to only 18% of women.

“Data on COVID-19 cases in Italy and Spain indicate that men may be at greater risk of death from the coronavirus than women, underscoring the need for men to take social-distancing measures seriously,” said Dan Armijo, chief operating officer of Altarum. “And while our survey focused on Michigan, we believe similar risk-taking differences exist between men and women across the country.”

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