According to a new FLIR Systems survey conducted online by The Harris Poll July 28-30, among more than 2,000 adults, Americans overwhelmingly favor requiring thermal temperature screening to enter many semi-public and private venues to help slow the spread of COVID-19. 

The survey also found that thermal temperature screening makes people feel more comfortable at airports, the workplace, events such as sports and concerts, and hospitals and doctor’s offices.

The FLIR survey shows that Americans support temperature screening to protect the public’s health despite potential concerns about personal freedoms. The vast majority (82 percent) of respondents say thermal temperature screening is “worth it for the sake of public health” versus only 18 percent who view the process as a “violation of personal freedom.” More than any other group, Americans 65 and older say thermal imaging screening would make them more likely to attend activities by an average of 5-10 percentage points compared to other age groups. 

“This recent poll shows that the general public recognizes how thermal imaging screening can help improve public health and safety,” said Chris Bainter, vice president of business development, solutions business at FLIR. “When used properly and with the appropriate equipment, thermal imaging screening can quickly and safely identify at-risk individuals for further.” 

The new FLIR survey echoes results from a previous Harris Poll survey conducted March 28-30, where a large majority of Americans (84 percent) said they would support a required health screening before someone could be allowed to enter certain crowded public spaces and (77 percent) in businesses such as restaurants, offices and cinemas. 

Respondents cited accuracy of temperature screening as a top concern, though. Asked whether the readings “may not always be accurate,” 41 percent say this is a major concern, and 59 percent say it’s either a minor concern or not a concern at all. Potentially longer lines (31 percent) and the privacy of personal data (34 percent) are also mentioned as being a “major concern” by survey respondents.

“Thermal temperature screening does not require the collection of any personally identifiable information to be an effective solution as part of a broader health and safety program,” Bainter said. “Thermal imaging offers a quick method to screen individuals, accurate within a fraction of a degree, while enabling operators and subjects alike to maintain recommended social distances.”