Politicization of COVID-19 and Conspiratorial Beliefs Among Emergency & Public Health Officials

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Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management
In this research, we identified how political beliefs impact emergency manager’s perception of COVID-19 severity and risk. Specifically, we gathered data from people with a broad range of roles in emergency management including healthcare, mitigation, response, fire, rescue, and other areas. We asked respondents their beliefs about the severity of COVID-19, their belief in health conspiracy theories, and the public health measures associated with COVID-19 response. Quantitative results showed political affiliation was a predictor for belief in health conspiracies, as well as beliefs about social distancing as a proper mitigation measure for the spread of COVID-19, and that age and years in emergency management were not significant predictors for beliefs in health conspiracies. Qualitative results included several main themes, including frustration about the politicization of COVID-19 response and mitigation efforts, challenges in PPE (personal protective equipment) procurement, tension between public health and emergency management, misinformation about COVID-19, and lack of leadership at the federal level. These findings fill a gap in the literature regarding how political beliefs shape risk, trust, decision-making, and collaboration within emergency management.
This article was originally published in Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. The version of record is available at: https://doi.org/10.1515/jhsem-2021-0072. © 2023 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston. This article will be embargoed until 08/10/2024.
COVID-19, emergency managers, health conspiracy beliefs, politicization
DeYoung, Sarah E. and Farmer, Ashley K.. "Politicization of COVID-19 and Conspiratorial Beliefs Among Emergency & Public Health Officials" Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management 20, no. 3 (2023): 385-403. https://doi.org/10.1515/jhsem-2021-0072