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 corona virus? 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 9:
Carelessness: risk and behaviour
Despite the relatively high risk perception, « fatigue symptoms » occur in connection with the acceptance of the measures: The measures are still well accepted, but approval continues to drop. Since the beginning of March, there has been a striking parallelism between mobility (measured with mobile phone data) and the statement that the measures are considered exaggerated, as well as the perceived risk.
Concerns about economic strength remain at a stable high level. All other concerns are tending to decline, especially the concern about overloading the health system.
Compliance with the measures
19% of those surveyed make exceptions in restricting personal contacts (24% the week before). 24% make exceptions and meet friends and relatives from outside the household.
Hospitals and doctors enjoy a high level of trust, all other institutions settle at a slightly lower level (than at the end of March). Trust in the authorities is an important influencing factor for the acceptance of many measures (e.g. also acceptance of a tracing app, a possible vaccination against COVID-19 (wave 7), the retention of the measures etc.) and is therefore particularly worth protecting.
Mandatory masking applies
60% already wear masks in public frequently or always (previous week 34%).
Willingness to download a tracing app is still low
48% (previous week 49%) are more willing or prepared to install a privacy-compliant app. 22% (previous week 22%) would never download such an app.
The second wave
91% have already heard that there may be a 2nd wave of the pandemic; 70% of all respondents think a 2nd wave is (rather) likely. Most respondents expect it in 2 months.
An experiment showed that the most important criteria for advocating exit scenarios were the sufficient capacity of intensive care units and the rejection of a mandatory tracing app. Schools and, above all, restaurants and bars should not be opened immediately, but later.
Even though about half of the parents of children under 6 years of age state that they feel the current personal situation to be stressful, the majority of these parents are in favour of opening the kindergarten only in a second step (vs. immediately or 3rd step).
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).