March 20 (UPI) -- Before the coronavirus pandemic took hold worldwide, less than 60 percent of Americans said they trust in the medical information and advice they receive from the government, a new study showed Friday.
Gallup said it asked the question to citizens of six countries as part of its Wellcome Global Monitor study. The data was compiled for the year 2018, well before the COVID-19 outbreak began, but the pollster said it indicates trends that are highly relevant to the pandemic now.
The study found 59 percent of Americans said they have "a lot" or "some" of health advice from the federal government. Thirty-six percent said they have "not much" or no trust at all.
The United States showed the least amount of government trust among citizens of the six nations polled. The most trust was found in Germany (83 percent), followed by Britain (81 percent), Spain (77 percent), France (70 percent) and Italy (63 percent).
Italy, however, showed the most distrust among citizens. Thirty-six percent of Italians said they have not much or no trust in health advice from their government. More than 3,400 people in Italy have died so far from the coronavirus, the most of any nation. Twenty-nine percent of Americans said they have little or no trust in government advice.
"While the vast majority of residents in these countries do have faith in their government's medical and health advice, the strikingly large minorities of residents in countries such as Italy and the United States may be less likely to adopt crucial government advice to stop the spread of COVID-19, particularly when it is voluntary rather than compulsory," Gallup wrote.
In the United States, trust in the government was highest among Americans between the ages of 15 and 29, and was lowest among those 50 and older.
By contrast, more than 90 percent of citizens in all six countries said they place "a lot" or "some" trust in the advice when it comes from medical workers, like doctors and nurses.