Overall, 721 (41.6%) participants reported misrepresentation or nonadherence regarding COVID-19 public health measures; telling someone they were with or about to be with in-person that they were taking more COVID-19 preventive measures than they actually were (24.3%) and breaking quarantine rules (22.5%) were the most common manifestations. The most commonly endorsed reasons included wanting life to feel normal and wanting to exercise personal freedom.
"With misrepresentation and nonadherence regarding public health measures being fairly common, the effectiveness of these measures in preventing disease spread may be undermined," concluded researchers. "This possibility highlights the need for further research examining strategies for educating the public on the importance of honesty and adherence in these situations as well as for addressing the factors (eg, the burden of quarantine, believing that COVID-19 is not real) that drive misrepresentation and nonadherence."
"It also underscores the importance of public health officials, policy makers, and media personalities fostering trust and engagement in these public health measures to reduce the occurrence and therefore the impact of misrepresentation and nonadherence," wrote investigators.