HONOLULU (AP) — A new report from the University of Hawaii provides a comprehensive look at how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected Hawaii residents with their jobs, ability to buy food, well -mental being and how vaccination status played a role.
“Health Effects and Perspectives of COVID-19 in Hawaii”, The University of Hawaii’s Economic Research Organization’s first quarterly report examines the impacts of the pandemic on people beyond the direct effects, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.
“It looks at a variety of public health impacts, which obviously impacts the economy,” said Ruben Juarez, professor of economics at UH Manoa College of Social Sciences. “It’s just a start at this point. I hope this will serve policy makers and the community to continue the conversation with stakeholders about the strategies we need to move forward.
The report is based on responses to a survey of more than 2,000 adult Hawaii residents in May in partnership with the state, Juarez said. Additional monthly surveys will involve the same people.
About 66% of those who responded said the pandemic had had a significant negative impact on a large part of the population.
The pandemic has caused economic hardship for many of those who responded. Almost a quarter of those who responded said they had exhausted their savings during the pandemic, 15% said they could not pay their bills, 9% lost their jobs while 12.5% said they had been laid off. on foot or having had their working hours reduced.
Another 8 percent said they did not have enough food for their household.
Access to health care does not appear to be a concern for survey respondents, but around a third reported symptoms of depression and 4.2% of respondents said they had considered suicide in the past. year.
About a quarter of survey respondents said they had tested positive for COVID-19. The survey also shows that 31% of people reported long-term symptoms after infection. The most common symptoms were cough and shortness of breath, followed by extreme fatigue, mental fog and headache.
The report also looked at the characteristics of those who were not vaccinated.
Unvaccinated people tended to be younger – with the highest percentage being in their 30s – and less educated. The survey found that the highest percentage of unvaccinated people, at 41%, did not have a high school diploma.
Of those who responded, those with an advanced or bachelor’s degree had very low non-vaccination rates, both below 5%.
The survey also found that unvaccinated people tend to get more information from social media and religious leaders than from medical professionals or government officials.
Among ethnic groups, Pacific Islanders have the highest percentage of unvaccinated people, at 21%.
This could be useful for the state health department to target vaccination outreach strategies, Juarez said.
According to the survey, those who are not vaccinated tend to experience more hardship, food insecurity and depression.
The May survey included 2,030 adults statewide, with a higher proportion of women, at 62%, and an age range of 18 to 70 and older. More than 40% were 60 or older. The sample population was also better educated than the state as a whole.
Future surveys will provide a better understanding of the state’s public health issues, document changes over time and offer insight into new challenges that may arise, Juarez said.