Royal Society Open Science
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During the COVID-19 pandemic, people across the globe have been exposed to large amounts of statistical data. Previous studies have shown that individuals mathematical understanding of health-related information affects their attitudes and behaviours. Here, we investigate the relation between (i) basic numeracy, (ii) COVID-19 health numeracy, and (iii) COVID-19 health-related attitudes and behaviours. An online survey measuring these three variables was distributed in Canada, the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK) (n = 2032). In line with predictions, basic numeracy was positively related to COVID-19 health numeracy. However, predictions, neither basic numeracy nor COVID-19 health numeracy was related to COVID-19 healthrelated attitudes and behaviours (e.g. follow experts recommendations on social distancing, wearing masks etc.). Multi-group analysis was used to investigate mean differences and differences in the strength of the correlation across countries. Results indicate there were no between-country differences in the correlations between the main constructs but there were between-country differences in latent means. Overall, results suggest that while basic numeracy is related to one s understanding of data about COVID-19, better numeracy alone is not enough to influence a population s health-related attitudes about disease severity and to increase the likelihood of following public health advice.