Non-compliance to social distancing during COVID-19 pandemic: A comparative cross-sectional study between the developed and developing countries

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  • Faiqa Binte Aamir
    Medical College, Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan.
    https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1314-9117
  • Syeda Maria Ahmad Zaidi
    Medical College, Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan.
  • Saadia Abbas
    Medical College, Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan.
  • Syed Roohan Aamir
    Medical College, Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan.
  • Syed Nauman Ahmad Zaidi
    Medical College, United Medical and Dental College, Karachi, Pakistan.
  • Karishma Kanhya Lal
    Medical College, Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan.
  • Syeda Sadia Fatima
    Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan.

ABSTRACT

Background: Despite mass vaccination campaigns, the world has seen a steady rise in the number of SARS-CoV-2 cases, with 178,765,626 cases and 3,869,994 COVID-19 related deaths by June 19th, 2021. Therefore, it is important to enforce social distancing to control its spread. With the variation observed in the severity of the pandemic in different countries, it is also imperative to study the social distancing behaviors amongst the population in developed and developing countries.

Design and Methods: 
In this cross-sectional study, a total of 384 participants from 14 different countries were surveyed via an online REDCap form.

Results: 
In this study, it was highlighted that despite adequate knowledge, the overall compliance to COVID-19 related preventive measures remains poor, the lowest being in the senior age group (≥ 65 years), and the highest being in adults aged between 25-64 years (p-value =0.003). Population from the developing countries were more compliant to all preventative measures against COVID-19 spread, except for handwashing, where the difference between the two populations remained insignificant (p-value = 0.038, <0.001, 0.016). Socioeconomic status, prior history of COVID-19 infection, or presence of comorbidities did not significantly affect compliance rates, however, participants with no prior history of this infection were found to be more compliant to donning a mask in public as compared to those with a positive history (p-value = 0.044).

Conclusions: 
Since compliance remains subpar in both the developing and the developed countries, mass campaigns about COVID-19 related preventive measures remain essential in controlling the disease spread.

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