Researchers have found that Americans have a misconception about exactly who has died from COVID-19 based on different age groups.

The study from Franklin Templeton-Gallup indicated Americans believe 57.7% of COVID-19 deaths were people 55 and older. In actuality, the age group made up more than 92% of all COVID-19 deaths in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Nearly all U.S. fatalities have been among people older than 55; and yet a large number of Americans are still convinced that the risk to those younger than 55 is almost the same as to those who are older,” Sonal Desai, chief investment officer at Franklin Templeton Fixed Income, said in a statement.

The study also indicates Americans believe that people 44 and younger made up about 30% of total COVID-19 deaths nut that age group accounts for less that 3% of total U.S. COVID-19 deaths.

For the 65 and older age group, Americans thought that this population accounts for about 40% of COVID-19 deaths but the actual proportion is 80%.

Among people 18 to 24, 58% of respondents said they fear significant health consequences from the coronavirus, despite only accounting for 0.1% of all COVID-19 deaths.

The research, which was conducted July 2-14 among 10,000 American adults 18 and older, also indicated that fear in young people was driven by social media and the misinformation.

“Fear and anger are the most reliable drivers of engagement. Scary tales of young victims of the pandemic, intimating that we are all at risk of dying, quickly go viral. So do stories that blame everything on your political adversaries,” Desai said. “Both social and traditional media have been churning out both types of narratives in order to generate more clicks and increase their audience.

“The fact that the United States is in an election year has exacerbated the problem. Stories that emphasize the dangers of the pandemic to all age cohorts and tie the risk to the administration’s handling of the crisis likely tend to resonate much more with Democrats than Republicans. This might be a contributing factor to why, in our survey results, Democrats tend to overestimate the risk of dying from COVID-19 for different age cohorts to a greater extent than Republicans do,” she added.

The U.S. has reported more than 5.5 million coronavirus cases and more than 173,000 COVID-19 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

A COVID-19 patient who has already spent five days in hospital prepares to be transfered by ambulance boat to another hospital in Breves city, Para state, in Brazil on June 10, 2020 A COVID-19 patient who has already spent five days in hospital prepares to be transfered by ambulance boat to another hospital in Breves city, Para state, in Brazil on June 10, 2020 Photo: AFP / TARSO SARRAF