For Immediate Release November 26, 2020

COVID-19 RESPONSE

Surging coronavirus and Thanksgiving holiday convergence could create 'perfect storm'

A new survey commissioned by the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) found that more than 4 in 10 Marylanders are unwilling to change their in-person Thanksgiving or other holiday plans. On a positive note, the survey also found that the nearly two thirds of Marylanders plan to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, when available.

The online survey – conducted November 16-23 which polled 525 Marylanders throughout Central Maryland, Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, where UMMS operates a network of 13 hospitals, ambulatory centers and urgent care facilities – found that 44% will not change their in-person Thanksgiving or other holiday plans due to COVID-19. The survey found that 65% of Marylanders are very or somewhat likely to get a COVID-19 vaccination when the vaccine is available.

"No question about it, these survey results are concerning, as our statewide mission to slow the spread of COVID-19 and stop the current surge relies on people heeding the advice of the CDC and Governor Hogan to not travel and refrain from holding large family events during Thanksgiving," said David Marcozzi, MD, UMMS COVID-19 Incident Commander. "This could be setting up a perfect storm, with COVID cases on the rise throughout the state and multiple super-spreader events, it could cause a significant strain on the state's healthcare system."

The survey found respondents in Southern Maryland and Eastern Shore regions are less likely to say they have canceled in-person holiday plans than those in other regions of the state. Women, older adults and those with higher education levels are more likely to have changed holiday plans.

The 65% of Marylanders saying they would take a COVID-19 vaccine, once available, is a positive finding, but is still below what state and federal health officials advise for the elimination of the pandemic in the United States.

"While we're encouraged that nearly two thirds of Marylanders would take a COVID vaccine, this survey points out that we have more work to do to educate the public about the necessity to vaccinate and alleviate fears and concerns about the vaccines that will become available," said Mohan Suntha, MD, MBA, President and Chief Executive Officer of UMMS. "UMMS will be working tirelessly to make the vaccine available to as many Marylanders as possible, at the appropriate time, and ease concerns by communicating the facts."

Those saying they are likely to take the vaccine include white men (76%), men age 45+ (78%) and people over age 65 (76%), the survey found. Those groups with higher levels saying they are not likely to take the vaccine include Black women (49%), women in general (43%), those with a high school education or less (49%), and people age 18-34 (42%). Regionally, people in the Baltimore metro area were more likely to say they would take the vaccine (70%), while those in Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore (55%) and Prince George's County (62%) report lower levels of likelihood.

About the Survey

The survey, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies and commissioned by the University of Maryland Medical System, was conducted from November 16-23, 2020, among 525 adults 18+ living in the UMMS’ expanded service area, which includes all counties statewide except Allegany, Garrett, Montgomery, and Washington. The survey has a credibility interval of ±4.88%.

About the University of Maryland Medical System

The University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) is a university-based regional health care system focused on serving the health care needs of Maryland, bringing innovation, discovery and research to the care we provide and educating the state's future physician and health care professionals through our partnership with the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the UM Schools of Nursing, Pharmacy, Social Work and Dentistry in Baltimore. As one of the largest private employers in the State, the health system's 28,000 employees and 4,000 affiliated physicians provide primary and specialty care in more than 150 locations and at 13 hospitals. UMMS' flagship academic campus, the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore is partnered with the University of Maryland School of Medicine and is recognized regionally and nationally for excellence and innovation in specialized care. Our acute care and specialty rehabilitation hospitals serve urban, suburban and rural communities and are located in 13 counties across the State. For more information, visit www.umms.org.

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