Survey reveals three of four Americans avoided getting a COVID-19 test when they believed they needed one

Dec. 11, 2020

A new Quest Diagnostics Health Trends study found that 3 out of 4 Americans who believed they needed a COVID-19 test (74 percent) chose not to get one, or delayed getting one, primarily due to concerns about exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, according to a press release.

The nationally representative survey was conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of Quest Diagnostics between Nov. 10 to 12, 2020, among 2,050 U.S. adults. Quest said the survey is believed to be the first to evaluate attitudes about COVID-19's impact on medical care and testing since the recent fall-winter wave of COVID-19 cases began to sweep across the U.S.

The findings suggest large numbers of Americans are putting off medical care they may need – including COVID-19 diagnostic lab tests as well as preventative and chronic care – due to fears and other barriers.

The primary reason Americans chose not to get a COVID-19 test was concern about exposure to the virus (30 percent); with others citing that they thought it was very unlikely they had COVID-19 (21 percent); concerns over having to quarantine while waiting for results or if they were positive (15 percent); and cost (15 percent).

A larger proportion of Hispanic/Latinx adults (83 percent), compared Whites/non-Hispanic (72 percent) and Blacks (72 percent), chose to avoid or delayed getting a diagnostic COVID-19 test when they believed they needed one.

Worries about exposure to the virus are at the top of the list of reasons why U.S. adults have avoided or delayed in-person healthcare (53 percent), but many of them also recognize that forgoing this care has now led to other health problems, like greater stress about a health condition (31 percent), delayed treatment (23 percent) or diagnosis (18 percent) and worsening symptoms (17 percent).

Over a third of Americans do not plan to resume attending in-person medical treatments and appointments until the pandemic is under better control (39 percent) or until a vaccine is available (33 percent). One in two Americans (51 percent) said that only a severe illness or injury would motivate them to seek in-person medical care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Quest Diagnostics has the release.

More COVID-19 coverage HERE.