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Coronavirus Survey Results: Will Take Vaccine, CDC Takes Trust Hit

Category: Health and Wellness Issues

October 4, 2020 — Thanks to the more than 500 generous people who cared enough to spend a few minutes filling our Coronavirus Activity Survey. As we hoped, the results were extremely interesting. Most were predictable, but it is reassuring to see most Topretirements Members are taking the pandemic seriously. The hundreds of personal comments written in to several of the questions make one thing very clear – the coronavirus pandemic has been one of the most momentous events in all of our lifelines, changing daily life now, and in some ways for the rest of our lives.

Some main points:

Topretirements Members are more likely to take a vaccine than the general population (71% vs. 50%).

The CDC has taken a big reputational hit, with far more trusting Dr. Fauci.

Mask compliance is high.

About half of respondents will go to a barbershop or salon.

Car travel is viewed as far safer than flying

People are split about eating in restaurants and visiting friends.

Almost all of the survey responses were given before the President and some in his inner circle tested positive. Our hope is that people will take precautions even more seriously after seeing how communicable the virus is. Note that Topretirements Members and visitors are almost all aged 55+.

Here are the results of the survey:

Q1 Would you take a coronavirus vaccine if the CDC said it was safe and effective?

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

More than two thirds (71%) of those taking the survey said they would take the vaccine. This contrasts with a recent CNN poll, which showed that 51% of Americans would try to get the vaccine. In the CNN poll 60% of those over 65 said they would take it.


197 Comments: More than two thirds of respondents said they will take a vaccine, but cautiously. There is a great deal of distrust of CDC as being politicized. Many would like to give a vaccine time to prove itself. Below are links to all 197 Comments on this question (Mac and Xcl versions).

Typical comment: “Maybe. I wanna vaccine but I want to be sure that it is safe. It depends when the vaccine comes out. If it comes out before election day I will not take it because I think it would be a political vaccine. “

Q2. Who do you believe more about vaccine effectiveness and safety?

Dr. Fauci is clearly much more trusted than any other source. Unfortunately, the results indicate that the CDC has been greatly wounded by its apparent politicization and missteps. Almost no one trusts the President on this issue.

Dr. Fauci54%
Pres. Trump5%

97 comments for Other: In comments, most people said they would put the most trust in their own doctor, manufacturers, themselves, or independent scientists or media.

Q3: Do you plan on making a trip more than 500 miles in next 6 months?

About half of the people surveyed are willing to take a trip of 500 miles or more.


Q4: What do you think is the safest way to travel in next 6 months?

Survey respondents overwhelmingly believe cars are the safest way to travel these days, but some will use an airplane if they are going a long distance.

Not safe11%
Other option7%
Train or bus0%

38 Comments: Many commenters mentioned one option we did not list, RVs, as a good way to travel. Cars were viewed as safe, and planes only out of necessity or for long distances.

Q5: Would you take a cruise in next 6 months?

Just about no one is ready to take a cruise in the short term.

No 91%

Q6: Would you eat in a restaurant in next 6 months?

There is a mix of responses to this question. Almost half are willing to eat inside a restaurant, while just under one third would eat outside.

Only outdoors29%

Q7: Have you or do you plan on going to a hairdresser or barber in the next 6 months?

People are more willing to get a haircut or go to a salon than any other activity in the survey. Judging from the comments, many people are taking a do it yourself approach to the problem.

Other option8%

40 Other Comments: Instead of going to a shop, many commenters said they were doing this themself, or a spouse or family member is cutting their hair. Some are going to a trusted salon, or using a barber/hairdresser who comes to the house. If they do go, it is to a shop where everyone wears masks. Didn’t like to have to go, but felt like they had to.

Best face on it comment: “I am a man and am bald”

Q8: Do you wear a mask when you are around non-family members?

In the aftermath of the President catching Covid, we were pleased to see a high level of mask compliance among people taking this survey.

All of the time49%
Most of the time29%
Some of the time17%

91 Other Comments: Mostly the commenters said they wear masks when around other people or in social settings, but not always if outside and socially distanced. Some people wear masks around non-family members all the time, even adding goggles and faceshield. There are those who might not wear a mask if within their pod or with a trusted friend. Some people don’t like them or have something like COPD which makes them difficult to wear. Many are happy with requirements to wear them, a tiny group feels they infringe their liberty.

Favorite comment: “Remember, it really isn’t so much a mask as an IQ test”

Q9: As the weather grows colder in much of the U.S. and Canada, will you be willing to entertain a few friends or visit their home in the next 6 months?

There is a wide variety of responses to this question. Like many other areas of Covid safety, behaviors might be evolving.

Yes if we are outside24%
Other option16%

81 Other Comments: There were a lot of maybes to this question. Other comments: Depends on who people are and how much I trust them, if socially distanced, only a small group, more likely to visit outside. Yes if we wear masks. Comments from Florida people who say it is only now getting cool enough to go outside!

Representative comment: “Perhaps with another couple, but only if positivity rate in testing is at Fauci’s ‘safe’ level. You just don’t know where people have been or who they’ve been with.”

Q10: Would you care to comment about what the best thing and the worst thing about the coronavirus has been for you?

366 Comments! Slightly more people listed Worsts than Bests. Below is a count of comments grouped by key words. Loss of contact with friends, family, and neighbors were at the top of people’s worsts, along with lost travel and missing family events. In the Best category were having more time for reading, cooking, writing, and projects. Seeing the better part of human nature was also appreciated. More than a few cited the President’s handling of the pandemic as a Worst, with a small minority saying he is a victim of China and the media, and a few mentioned conspiracy theories.

KeywordCount in comments

You can download all 363 interesting comments Here: (Mac and Xcl versions)

Representative Best and Worst things mentioned about the coronavirus pandemic:

-I have met neighbors that I ordinarily would not have met.

-I started a vegetable garden for the first
time ever.

-Being stuck in the house in the winter. And having to order expensive Instacart because I refused to go to the grocery store last winter. Our budget really took a hit with that.

-There is no BEST thing about a pandemic!

-We’d seen the next year as our “transition year” into retirement, or partial retirement, for my husband, but the travel and entertainment
we’d planned just aren’t feasible, and we’re not sure how to “pivot” into something different.

-Finding new ways to reach out and help others, feeling creativity blooming with fewer daily interactions–the absence of lots of medical appointments, for example. And, somewhat humorously, learning how much we talk to complete strangers in our isolation–I know more things about the private
lives of tech support people, for instance, than I ever thought I would.

-Realizing that even introvert, solitude-lovers like myself reach a point of needing physical connections, hugs–and we yearn it when we can’t get it.

-The worst thing was that it brought out the worst in people, not only with the quarantine, but how strongly people feel about masks, reopening etc. It brought additional conflict to our country.

-The best was it reminded us of the importance of physical touch and personal interaction, as well as an appreciation for those who were essential, whatever their role.

More Survey Results:

More comments? Feel free to add additional thoughts about your coronavirus activities, along with the best and worst, below.

Posted by Admin on October 3rd, 2020


  1. The link to comments isn’t activated.

    by JCarol — October 4, 2020

  2. Click on either the blue link underneath or Download. We hope it is only temporary, but you have to download the results in csv. Are working with survey host to try to get a pdf which doesnt require download. Sorry for the trouble.
    We also added a link to the almost 200 Comments to Question 1, Will you take the vaccine.

    by Admin — October 4, 2020

  3. All those links take me to the retirement living survey from August (which I actually prefer to peruse vs thinking about COVID for one more minute 🙂

    Editor comment: Don’t blame you!

    by Daryl — October 5, 2020

  4. We must have some gerbils working mischief behind the scenes. For some reason it kept reverting to last survey, now corrected. Sorry about that.
    Click on either the blue link underneath or Download. We hope it is only temporary, but you have to download the results in csv. Are working with survey host to try to get a pdf which doesnt require download.

    by Admin — October 5, 2020

  5. Your CSV file has a .numbers extension, which is only readable on Macs.

    Would you please offer a version with a .doc or .xls extension?


    Admin comment: Thank you for pointing out this problem. Excel versions now added. PS – Never had such trouble with these before, but thanks to caring people like you we will get it fixed!

    by JCarol — October 7, 2020

  6. A good friend told me about an incident he found troubling. He and wife were invited to a small gathering at another friend’s house. It was specifically mentioned that it would be held outside. When they got there, the host said, gosh the weather isn’t so great, let’s move inside. He and his wife were stunned, the only reason they agreed to come was because it was an outside event. Eventually they went inside, afraid to hurt their host, but felt guilty and unsafe, leaving early. Any advice from others on how to handle this type of situation – bound to happen to all of us as the weather gets colder.

    by Admin — October 8, 2020

  7. This happened to us recently. We intended to host another couple outside, but as the hour approached the weather was changing. I contacted the couple and gave them the option to reschedule if they wanted to. They opted to come, and it worked out fine, but it might not be possible for those in tight quarters.

    by Staci — October 9, 2020

  8. Sorry, not mingling inside anyone’s home especially without a mask. Just not worth taking chances like that these days….

    by Lovie96 — October 9, 2020

  9. The only person I’ve had in my rented condo in over a year has been my landlady. Even after she was told I was immune compromised she wanted to do an inspection. We left the premises but our state says that should only be done for repairs but since we don’t have a lease we couldn’t push it. She thinks Covid is just the flu…oh well…

    by Mary11 — October 10, 2020

  10. First of all, people should be prepared for the possibility of a weather change. We all know weather changes and sometimes from one minute to the next. So, to find out that the event was being moved indoors shouldn’t be an earth shattering surprise. People should be prepared for that and make up their minds before they get there to do what they feel comfortable with. Don’t be guilt tripped into doing what makes you uncomfortable. Put your big boy and girl pants on and if you find situations have changed, just say no, we only came because it was going to be outdoors. We don’t feel comfortable right now with indoor events. Say thank you, sorry and leave. Simple, just do it. Yes, it might be hard to walk away from something your host has put time and effort into but the host will understand if he/she had planned it as an outdoor event in the first place. Another thing that these people could have done from the get go is tell the host that they would love to come to the outdoor event. But if anything changes and it has to be moved indoors, we will not be able to stay. Right upfront tell the host.

    by Louise — October 11, 2020

  11. Agree with Louise – say it upfront when you accept the invitation. You can be polite about it, but no one should feel guilt for not spending time indoors with people that aren’t from your own household. But if you weren’t upfront about it, I’d much rather be safe and take the risk of disappoiinting someone rather than spend time indoors with unmasked people.

    by Tess — October 11, 2020

  12. The hardest part for me has been not being able to attend funeral services for friend and relative who died of COVID. I won’t go into a church.

    by Maimi — October 12, 2020

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