Our Take: Public health officials face steep challenge in fight against COVID-19 misinformation, KFF survey indicates
Nearly 8 in 10 adults in the U.S. (78%) say they have heard at least one of eight false statements about COVID-19 included in a recent survey by public opinion researchers at the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) and either believe the statement is true or are unsure whether it is true.
- The government is exaggerating the number of COVID-19 deaths (38% believed this was true and 22% were unsure).
- Pregnant women should not get the COVID-19 vaccine (17% believed, 22% unsure).
- Deaths due to the COVID-19 vaccine are being intentionally hidden by the government (18% believed, 17% unsure).
- The COVID-19 vaccines have been shown to cause infertility (8% believed, 23% unsure).
- Ivermectin is a safe and effective treatment for COVID-19 (14% believed, 14% unsure).
- You can get COVID-19 from the vaccine (14% believed, 10% unsure).
- The COVID-19 vaccines contain a microchip (7% believed, 17% unsure).
- The COVID-19 vaccines can change your DNA (8% believed, 13% unsure).
Only about one in five of those surveyed (22%) said they did not believe any of these statements.
Several factors correlated with the likelihood of believing COVID-19 misinformation, including vaccination status, political leaning, residential community type, and education level.
For example, almost two-thirds of the unvaccinated respondents (64%) believed or were unsure about four or more of the false statements (vs. 19% of the vaccinated respondents).
Among the respondents who identified as Republicans, almost half (46%) said they believed or were unsure about four or more of the false statements (vs. 14% of self-identified Democrats).
Believing at least half of the statements or having doubts about whether they were false was more prevalent among respondents living in rural areas, those not having a college degree, and those ages 18 to 59 as compared with respondents living in suburban or urban areas, those with a college degree, and those age 50 or older.
The researchers also asked the survey respondents about their most trusted media sources for COVID-19 information.
Overall, they trusted local TV news stations more than any other source, with 13% saying they trusted them a great deal and 33% saying they trusted their local TV station a fair amount. Network news sources were a close second, followed in descending order by CNN, MSNBC, NPR, Fox News, One America News, and Newsmax.
Trust in media sources varied considerably between those who identified as Republicans and those who identified as Democrats. Among Republicans, 49% said they trusted Fox News a great deal or a fair amount with regard to information about COVID-19 (vs. 18% of Democrats who said they trusted Fox News). Network news was the most trusted media source for COVID-19 information among Democrats, with 72% saying they trusted this source a great deal or a fair amount (vs. 25% of Republicans who said they trusted network news).
In general, the respondents placed very little trust in social media sources such as Facebook.
Among those who were not vaccinated, Fox News was the most trusted media source for COVID-19 information, but only 30% said they trusted Fox News at least a fair amount. This highlights how little trust there is among unvaccinated adults in terms of news sources for information about COVID-19.
While the researchers noted that belief in misinformation was higher among the respondents who said they trusted COVID-19 information from conservative news sources such as Fox News and One America News, they pointed out that they could not determine whether this finding was because people are exposed to misinformation from these news sources or because the types of people who get their news from such sources are predisposed to believe certain kinds of misinformation for other reasons.
The survey is part of the KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor, an ongoing research project that is tracking attitudes and experiences with COVID-19 vaccinations among the general public. It was conducted by phone Oct. 14-24 among a nationally representative random sample of 1,519 U.S. adults. Of that total, 1,090 said they had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 406 said they had not been vaccinated.
Tenet Healthcare and a subsidiary will acquire SurgCenter Development for $1.2 billion. The Dallas-based health system and subsidiary United Surgical Partners International (USPI)signeda definitive agreement under which they will acquire Towson, Md.-based SurgCenter’s ownership interests in 92 ambulatory surgery centers located in 21 states. Of those 92 centers, SurgCenter owns a minority interest in 86 and a majority interest in the other six. To gain majority ownership in the centers, USPI will pay up to another $250 million to acquire equity interests from physician owners. Late last year, Tenet paid approximately $1.1 billion to acquire SurgCenter’s majority interests in up to 45 ambulatory surgery centers. This latest transaction is expected to close by year-end, subject to customary closing conditions. Additionally, USPI and SurgCenter principals formed a five-year partnership to develop at least 50 new ambulatory surgery centers.
Affirmant Health Partners, a clinically integrated network of more than 5,400 physicians based in Kalamazoo, Mich., will cease operations at the end of the year. Along with Henry Ford Health System, Affirmant’s member organizations include Bronson Healthcare Group, Covenant HealthCare, Spectrum Health Lakeland, and Sparrow Health System. In a press release, the network said its board of directors made the decision to close because of changes in strategy among the participating health systems, reductions in traditional Medicare participation, and matters related to the pandemic. The network stated in a press release that its member organizations earned $75 million in shared savings in four years of participation.
Takeda Pharmaceuticals America signed an outcomes-based agreement with Point32Health for Alunbrig (brigatinib), a drug approved for adults with ALK-positive non-small cell lung cancer (ALK+NSCLC). Point32Health is the entity formed by the merger between Tufts Health Plan and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. Citing Dion Warren, who is head of Takeda Oncology’s U.S. business unit, FiercePharma reported that Takeda will offer a “significant” rebate to Point32Health if a patient stops treatment with Alunbrig within the first three months because of issues related to efficacy or tolerability. According to Warren, the Alunbrig program is unique because there are no patient eligibility limitations. A spokesperson with Point32Health told FiercePharma that patients would also receive a refund from their plan for their out-of-pocket costs.
Nearly 60% of health systems plan to use a risk-based Medicare Advantage model in 2022, according to a survey of more than 100 health system CFOs conducted on behalf of the Guidehouse Center for Health Insights. That’s up from 51% who responded similarly in 2019. Other risk-based payment strategies the CFOs said they planned to use next year include commercial employer-based risk contracts (52%), Medicare alternative payment models (49%), managed Medicaid (36%), and direct-to-employer arrangements (33%). Half of the survey respondents cited strategic partnerships with payers as their health system’s top external challenge, and 33% said data integrity, reporting, and costs associated with technology were the primary internal obstacles to pursuing higher levels of risk.
Truveta launched its clinical data platform on Tuesday by sharing the first insights generated from the platform, which uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to structure de-identified clinical data from tens of thousands of sites of care in 42 states. Truveta’s members — currently 20 of the country’s leading health systems — provide the data, which is updated daily. The first insights focused on breakthrough cases of COVID-19 and revealed that 9% to 15% of fully vaccinated people who become infected and develop COVID-19 are eventually hospitalized. (The percentages varied depending on the vaccine received.) Further, people with underlying conditions that put them at high risk for COVID-19 (e.g., cancer, HIV, chronic kidney disease, organ transplantation) are no more likely than the general population to have a breakthrough case, but if they do become infected they are twice as likely to be hospitalized.
GE Healthcare is poised to become an independent public company in early 2023 with a focus on “driving innovation in precision health.” GE announced Tuesday that it would pursue a tax-free spinoff of its health care business, with plans to retain a 19.9% stake in the new company. GE is also combining GE Renewable Energy, GE Power, and GE Digital into a single business, which it will then spin off as another independent public company in early 2024. After both spinoffs are completed, GE will focus entirely on aviation. GE’s chairman and CEO, H. Lawrence Culp, will serve as non-executive chairman of the new health care company and will continue to lead the aviation-focused GE after the spinoffs. Peter Arduini will serve as president and CEO of GE Healthcare starting on Jan. 1, 2022. The spinoffs are subject to final approval by GE’s board of directors and other conditions.
Johnson and Johnson (J&J) plans to separate its consumer health business into a new, publicly traded company within the next 18 to 24 months. The consumer health lines of business include self-care, skin care, and what J&J refers to as “essential” care: baby care, feminine care, wound care, and oral health. J&J stated in its announcement Friday that the planned separation is subject to certain conditions, such as final approval by J&J’s board of directors, a favorable ruling from the IRS regarding the deal’s tax-free status, and other regulatory approvals.
President Joe Biden announced Friday morning that Dr. Robert Califf would be his nominee to lead the Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Califf, a cardiologist, served as FDA commissioner for almost a year after Margaret Hamburg stepped down in 2015. Most recently, Dr. Califf has been a senior advisor to Verily Life Sciences and sister company Google Health. He will need to be confirmed by the Senate before resuming the top spot at the FDA.
Gene Identified for High Risk of COVID Mortality Much More Common in South Asians. Medscape, 11.11.21
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