It has been a tough year for the CDC, with missteps and mixed messaging. The end result, as a new RAND study shows, is declining trust.
The study involved asking 2,000 participants in RAND’s American Life Panel (ALP) their level of trust of the CDC, USPS, and FEMA in May and again in October. Here are the results weighted to reflect our nation’s population.
That decline for the CDC was statistically significant and more than likely was socially significant as well. As you might expect, there is a robust political component with the distrust growing more among, at the time, potential Trump voters, a 0.8 point decrease, than likely Biden voters at 0.3 point decrease. Skepticism did not change much in the Black community, dropping from 7.2 o 6.9. Still, distrust grew much more in the non-Hispanic White and Hispanic communities – their level of distrust now matches that of the Black community at a level of 6.8.
Rebuilding trust will require actions over words. That is difficult to achieve when you are asked to manage a public health crisis with significant scientific uncertainty. What did the post office do to build trust during the same interval?
Source: Decline in Trust in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention During the COVID-19 Pandemic Rand Corporation