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Chicago Parents More Worried Than U.S. Adults Overall About COVID-19

October 29, 2020

More than three in five Chicago parents (64 percent) were very concerned about COVID-19 affecting their family’s health, according to new survey results released by Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Chicago parents were surveyed May – July, 2020. Their responses are in sharp contrast to the results from a national poll in July, which found that only 49 percent of U.S. adults were very worried about COVID-19 infecting them or someone in their family.

Across groups of parents in Chicago by race/ethnicity, non-Latinx Black parents were the most likely to express that they were “very concerned” (75 percent), compared with Latinx parents (69 percent), multi-racial/other parents (63 percent) and non-Latinx White parents (49 percent).

“It is understandable that Black parents expressed a higher degree of concern about COVID-19 in our survey, because the pandemic has disproportionately affected people of color due to social influencers of health such as poverty that are connected to structural racism and disinvestment in communities of color,” says Matthew M. Davis, MD, MAPP, Chair of the Department of Medicine at Lurie Children’s, President and Chief Research Officer of the Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute, Executive Vice-President and Chief Community Health Transformation Officer at the Patrick M. Magoon Institute for Healthy Communities at Lurie Children’s. “Hearing directly from Chicago parents helps us take their views into account as we develop child health initiatives that would be most impactful within their communities,” said Dr. Davis, who is Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

The survey of parents all across the city of Chicago also found that they had the greatest trust in information about COVID-19 from their own or their child’s doctor (62 percent and 61 percent, respectively). Trust in other COVID-19 information sources they used was lower – such as public health websites (48 percent), news on television or online (25 percent), and social media (16 percent).

“We were encouraged to find that parents had the highest level of confidence in information about COVID-19 from medical professionals, among a wide variety of sources,” said Dr. Davis.

Findings are based on data from a recently launched survey project called the Voices of Child Health in Chicago Parent Panel Survey. The survey is conducted exclusively by NORC at the University of Chicago for Lurie Children’s, and is administered to Chicago parents three times each year via internet and telephone surveys. The sample consists of 1,642 Chicago parents from all 77 community areas in Chicago.

Population-focused child health research at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago is conducted through the Mary Ann & J. Milburn Smith Child Health Research, Outcomes, and Evaluation Center at the Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute. The Manne Research Institute is focused on improving child health, transforming pediatric medicine and ensuring healthier futures through the relentless pursuit of new knowledge. Lurie Children’s is ranked as one of the nation’s top children’s hospitals in U.S. News & World Report. It is the pediatric training ground for Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Last year, the hospital served more than 220,000 children from 48 states and 49 countries.