A Rutgers-Eagleton poll released Wednesday found most New Jerseyans are well informed about the novel coronavirus.
Almost all respondents, 97%, correctly said the virus could be transmitted through close physical proximity or through contaminated surfaces.
A little more than four-fifths, 83%, correctly said they could not be infected with COVID-19 by mosquitos, and 91% knew seasonal flu vaccines did not protect against the virus.
“Virtually all New Jerseyans are well versed in the basics that we have known from the very beginning about this virus,” said Ashley Koning, director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling. “The problem is, however, that what we know about the virus keeps evolving, with more symptoms being added to official lists in the last week or so alone. This constantly changing landscape can cause confusion, so New Jerseyans must continue to be vigilant in informing themselves about the virus.”
While almost all New Jersey residents correctly identified the virus’s most common symptoms — fever, 95%, and a dry cough, 90% — they were less sure on others.
Roughly equal numbers of respondents said nasal congestion was a symptom, 45%, or was not a symptom, 47%. The latest guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control does not list nasal congestion as a symptom of COVID-19.
Most residents, 72%, also know the majority of COVID-19 cases result in relatively minor symptoms, though 18% believed otherwise.
Surprisingly, 100% of respondents know that hand washing is an important preventative measure, and 98% know to avoid large gatherings, while 97% know about cloth face covering guidelines issued by the CDC.
While wide majorities of residents reported following social distancing guidelines, fewer New Jerseyans are following those guidelines.
Eighty percent of residents said they had not left their homes for non-essential purposes, and 74% said they had not invited anyone outside of their household into their home.
“A large majority of New Jerseyans say they are following social distancing orders but not to the same extent as somewhat easier measures, like handwashing and masks,” Koning said. “Social distancing will only become harder as the weather gets nicer, as more restrictions get lifted, and as residents take more calculated risks, so these numbers will undoubtedly change in the weeks to come.”