In cooperation with the University of Erfurt, respondi is currently analysing how the German population perceives the situation with regard to the corona virus on a weekly basis in COVID-19 Snapshot Monitoring (COSMO).
How does the public assess the risk posed by the coronavirus? And how does it react? How often do certain behaviour patterns, such as panic buying, which are heavily discussed in the media, actually occur?
The study is a cooperative project launched in March with the aim of obtaining a repeated insight into the public’s perceptions – the « psychological situation ». This should make it easier to offer the population correct, helpful knowledge and prevent misinformation and actionism. This study is thus intended to help authorities, media representatives, but also the population to assess the psychological challenges of the COVID-19 epidemic and, at best, to cope with them.
Well-known scientific universities and institutions such as the University of Erfurt, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the Federal Centre for Health Education (BZgA), the Leibniz Institute for Psychology Information (ZPID) and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health are participating in the study.
For the study, more than 1,000 people are interviewed weekly on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in a sample corresponding to the distribution of age, gender (crossed) and federal state (uncrossed) of the German population from respondi‘s online panel.
Summary of the results from survey wave 7:
– Fears and worries have settled at a stable level; this is slightly lower than at the time when the measures were tightened (mid/end of March). Risk perception has risen again somewhat after a slight decline over the last 3 weeks.
– Concerns about the overburdening of the health care system – a central reason for the measures – continued to decline compared to the previous week.
– Despite the relatively high risk perception, « fatigue symptoms » occur in connection with the acceptance of measures to protect against the spread of the corona virus: The measures are still well accepted, but approval is continuously decreasing. For example, acceptance of measures to close community facilities fell again compared to the previous week.
– Concerns about economic power remain at a stable high level. All other worries are tending to decline, especially the concern about overloading the health system. Fears that the corona pandemic will increase social inequality remain.
– The population is well informed about COVID-19 and corresponding protective measures.
– The existing regulations on physical distancing are also well known, but in some cases they are implemented inadequately or with exceptions. 78% often or always refrain from private meetings with other people (from other households). 82% frequently or always avoid public places. 84% frequently or always go out in public with only one other person at most.
– Sending older children back to school is better accepted than sending younger children to school and opening daycare centres. Keeping schools closed until the summer holidays is more likely to be rejected; that day nurseries and childcare facilities remain closed until the holidays is more likely to be accepted.
– 25% already wear masks in public frequently or always; 52% think that wearing a cloth mask should be obligatory (previous week 45%).
Detailed information on this study can be found on the corresponding website of the University of Erfurt (only in German) and on the website of the Leibniz Institute for Psychology Information (English version).