COVID-19 Deaf Health and Healthcare Access Research
Year: 2020-2021
Focus: Healthcare Access and Deaf Patient Reported Outcomes
NIH Award: 3R01DC014463-05S4

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Part 1 Findings from a Survey of
Deaf Americans: COVID-19 Awareness and Risk Perceptions

Summary written by Poorna Kushalnagar, Ph.D.
Director, Center for Deaf Health Equity
Infographics provided by the Office of University Communications

In this report, we provide a summary of results from Part 1 of a survey of deaf people who use American Sign Language (ASL).  Part 1 gathers information about deaf people’s awareness of COVID-19 and their perceived risk of infection. We will share results from Part 2 about deaf people’s experience with accessing health care during the pandemic. This project is funded by the National Institutes of Health/NIDCD.

During the week of March 19, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) posted its first series of ASL videos about COVID-19. One month later, Gallaudet surveyed deaf Americans about COVID-19 awareness and risk perceptions through social media for two weeks (April 17-May 1) and participant pool database through the Deaf Health Communication and Quality of Life Center for one week (April 26-May 1). As of May 1, 2020, over 500 deaf Americans who used ASL had completed an online bilingual ASL/English survey. All analyses were weighted to reflect the deaf U.S. population who were born deaf or became deaf prior to 18 years. 

About 7% of the U.S. deaf sample had COVID-19 infection. Most of the infected respondents found out through a drive-through or mobile testing site.

Deaf people who did not know much about physical/social distancing were more likely to believe that physical/social distancing is not effective in preventing the spread of the coronavirus.


Overall, 43% of the sample are not worried or a little worried about getting the coronavirus.



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