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BMC public health


BACKGROUND: Public Health policies related to social distancing efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic helped slow the infection rate. However, individual-level factors associated with social distancing are largely unknown. We sought to examine social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic in Michigan, an infection "hotspot" state in the United States early in the pandemic.

METHODS: Two surveys were distributed to Michigan residents via email lists and social media following COVID-19 related state mandates in March; 45,691 adults responded to the first survey and 8512 to the second. Staying home ≥ 3 out of 5 previous days defined having more social distancing. Logistic regression models were used to examine potential factors associated with more social distancing.

RESULTS: Most respondents were women (86% in Survey 1, 87% in Survey 2). In Survey 1, 63% reported more social distancing, increasing to 78% in Survey 2. Female sex and having someone (or self) sick in the home were consistently associated with higher social distancing, while increasing age was positively associated in Survey 1 but negatively associated in Survey 2. Most respondents felt social distancing policies were important (88% in Survey 1; 91% in Survey 2).

CONCLUSIONS: Michiganders responding to the surveys were both practicing and supportive of social distancing. State-level executive orders positively impacted behaviors early in the COVID-19 pandemic in Michigan. Additional supports are needed to help vulnerable populations practice social distancing, including older individuals.

Medical Subject Headings

Adult; COVID-19; Disease Hotspot; Female; Humans; Male; Michigan; Middle Aged; Pandemics; Physical Distancing; Public Policy; Surveys and Questionnaires

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