The US public’s response to the pandemic has been chaotic. Some people have observed strict social distancing, happily went into lockdown when case counts got high, and got a vaccine as soon as it became available. Others were nearly the oposite, protesting any public health measures and refusing the vaccine. And a whole lot of the population ended up somewhere between the two extremes.
Obviously, for a complex response like that, multiple factors are probably in play, untangling them can be difficult. For example, conservatives in the US have received anti-vaccine messages from their political leaders, but that’s coming on top of a long-term trend of mistrust toward scientific information.
This week, however, a bit of data has come out that does a fairly good job of untangling those complications. One study indicates that skepticism toward scientific information appears to be linked to whether people followed lockdown instructions from health authorities. And a survey indicates that people are more likely to try untested “cures” for COVID-19 if they watch right-wing news sources.