Big Island Coronavirus Updates

DOH Survey Measures How Seriously Hawaii Residents Take Social Distancing

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Most people in Hawai‘i believe COVID-19 is a somewhat serious threat, but fewer than half practice social distancing without fail.

According to a statewide survey recently commissioned by the Hawai‘i Department of Health (DOH), 93% of Hawai‘i residents consider COVID-19 to be a “very serious” or “somewhat serious” health concern, and 75% believe it poses a real danger or threat to themselves or others living in their household. However, only 44% of respondents say they are practicing social distancing guidelines suggested by government officials and healthcare professionals “all of the time.”

The 25% of respondents who say they do not feel threatened by COVID-19 cited reasons for their belief:

  • They are following CDC guidelines.
  • They believe they are healthy and unlikely to get sick.
  • They do not venture outside their home much.
  • They do not trust reports about the severity of the disease.

There were notable differences in perceptions between the neighbor islands and O‘ahu, with 81% of neighbor islanders saying they consider COVID-19 to be a “very serious” concern, versus 69% of O‘ahu residents surveyed.


“The findings provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of our efforts to educate our community about the disease. This is especially important as we begin to reopen parks, businesses, and other places where people congregate,” said Bruce Anderson, Director of Health. “For our state to fully reopen and start the road to economic recovery, all of our residents must recognize the seriousness of the pandemic and be willing to make necessary lifestyle changes to prevent a second wave of increased cases.”

Public service announcements can be viewed at

DOH commissioned Anthology Research to conduct a quantitative study of Hawai‘i residents using both phone interviews and online surveys. A total of 545 surveys were conducted from April 17 to 23, 2020.


Respondents were screened to ensure they were at least 18 years of age and a full-time Hawai‘i resident. The margin of error for a sample of this size is +/- 4.20 percentage points with a 95% confidence level.

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