Four out of every 10 Americans lied about their COVID-19 diagnosis or whether or not they complied with preventive measures during the height of the pandemic, a new nationwide study purports.
This does not mean that 40% of Americans were lying about themselves and the disease at any given time, only that they lied at some point. People will draw whatever conclusions they had drawn before knowing this. We are at the point where no one is changing their minds - everyone believes that each new fact proves what they already believed.
I suppose what I am going to point out shows that I am no different. I thought a couple of things were not mentioned often enough during all the arguing: an unmeasured variable was how much interaction people normally had. Countries that had low rates of interaction before tended to have fewer, sometimes many fewer cases of covid. They were more comfortable with not being out and in contact, and regardless of what governments mandated, they had less contact anyway. In the face of such changes, all of us are trying to revert to a previous baseline, often without noticing it. As with gun control, what the laws are matters much less than what the people are.
Such deception also figures strongly into measuring how effective masks or distancing or closings are. It screws up the numbers. This is why studies that used "what the rules are" as a proxy for "what people are really doing" will not tell us much. What does a mandate that is 20% ignored, 50% ignored, 80% ignored matter? We can't tell. Utah may be different than Colorado. Studies that tried to get at actual contact numbers tended to be better predictors.
The rates of lying are going to vary by location, by cultural groups, and likely by other things we don't yet know, like age or sex. And when high-contact people start to drop their guard, they are going to gradually move to a higher amount of contact than the introverts, just like before, even if both think they are making equivalent efforts.