According to a Gallup poll result published this week, most Americans polled overrate the scope of threats posed by COVID-19.

The survey involved more than 3,000 U.S. adults. The results suggested views about hospitalization, especially among unvaccinated people, might be more pessimistic than the reality. 

It compared how Americans view the risks of hospitalization after contracting COVID-19 as compared to the data calculated from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Gallup reported that 92% of unvaccinated respondents overestimated the risk of unvaccinated patients with COVID-19 being hospitalized. However, the overestimation rate for the vaccinated group was much lower, with 62% overestimating the risk of being hospitalized from COVID-19.

The poll questioned the chance of half the unvaccinated people with COVID-19 being admitted to the hospital. However, 41% of Democrats, 21% of Republicans, and 26% of independents agreed on the chance. 

Vaccinated Democrats estimated more precise hospitalizations rates for those infected with the virus than the Republicans. For example, 42% of Democrats and 33% of Republicans agreed to the correct figure of under 1%.

Gallup provided the correct (according to the HHS and CDC) hospitalization rates among the vaccinated people was 0.01%, and 0.89% for the unvaccinated.

The pollster observed that the results explain the disparity between Democrats and Republicans weighing their response to COVID-19 policies. 

Because Democrats weigh the risks posed by COVID-19 heavier, Gallup said it matches their tendency to impose mandates on masks and vaccination. 

Meanwhile, the Republicans were less positive of hospitalization rates among the vaccinated people, resulting in their lowered trust in the shots’ efficiency, and hence, their reluctance to be vaccinated.

The pollster suggested the Republicans’ opinions might be influenced by their choice of information. 

“Vaccine acceptance is unlikely to significantly increase among Republicans until their trusted media or other information sources emphasize the benefits of vaccination,” they wrote.

Nonetheless, the Gallup poll recognized that those congruent with federal agencies about COVID-19 risks between the immunized and unimmunized people were really limited as a whole. 

“Only 8% of U.S. adults gave correct answers for the unvaccinated population and 38% for the vaccinated population,” they wrote, acknowledging that people tend to overestimate the proportions.

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