Why Some Parents Lied About Their Kids’ COVID Status: “I Wanted My Child To Have A Normal Life”

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Some US parents were not conscientious about their children’s coronavirus symptoms, quarantine measures and testing guidelines, potentially contributing to the viral spread, according to a study published Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study, which was conducted by researchers in the US and England, aimed to examine the “prevalence of misreporting and non-compliance related to COVID-19″. [public health measures] about the associations of personal characteristics by parents with their children, their causes, and these behaviors.”

More than 1,700 US adults were sampled in the study through December 2021 Omicron variant rates skyrocketed across the country, including 580 parents who had children under the age of 18 living with them during the pandemic. Seventy percent of respondents were female, and all participants were recruited online.

A quarter of parents reported “misrepresentation and non-compliance with COVID-19 recommendations” in at least 1 out of 7 COVID-related behaviors related to exposure, quarantining, vaccination and testing.

Of the many reasons given by parents, the most popular was “I wanted to exercise my freedom to do what I want with my child,” followed by “my child did not feel very sick” and ” I wanted my child’s life to feel ‘normal.'”

Others did not want their child to go to school, or could not afford to leave work to stay home and provide care, while others expressed concern that they or their child might feel judged by others.

“These results suggest that some [public health measures] implemented to limit the spread of COVID-19 may have been compromised by misrepresentation and noncompliance by parents on the part of their children, contributing to COVID-19-related morbidity and mortality ,” the study stated.

“Our findings suggest a serious public health challenge in the immediate context of the COVID-19 pandemic, including future waves affecting weary parents, as well as future infectious disease outbreaks,” the study continues. Acknowledging that further work is needed to identify which groups are more likely to misrepresent COVID status, and support for parents to reduce subsequent non-compliance system is likely to be adopted.

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