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Coronavirus: risk is still perceived as threatening


Population survey: Germans continue to perceive coronavirus as a threat

Although not as many people are now infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus as they were just a few weeks ago, the population still takes the danger from the novel pathogen seriously, as a survey shows. Many are also unsure whether they can protect themselves from infection.

The current corona pandemic still leads to understandable uncertainty among many people. The threat from the virus continues to be perceived as threatening. This is shown by a current survey.

Risk perception survey

The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) has published the "BfR Corona Monitor" since the end of March.

The regular survey documents how the population in Germany estimates the outbreak of the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and what fears people are particularly concerned about.

The current "BfR Corona Monitor" shows that the risk of coronavirus is still taken seriously.

"Even after ten surveys, it can be seen that the danger from corona viruses is still perceived as threatening," explains BfR President Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel in a message.

"The response in the media also shows that the BfR Corona Monitor has proven to be a reliable compass in recent months when it comes to risk perception in Germany."

Transmission of the virus

According to the information, it was clear from the start which sources the population classified as transmission channels for the novel corona virus. Initially 81 percent of the respondents, on average 71 percent, consider proximity to other people to be the main source of infection.

Doorknobs (48 percent) and cash (32 percent) also seem to harbor a comparatively high risk of infection for many people - from a scientific point of view, however, these transmission channels are negligible.

However, the likelihood of the coronavirus being transmitted through food, pets or clothing - in line with the current scientific status - is estimated to be comparatively low.

Protection against infection

Avoiding the public to protect yourself or the family from infection was the main choice.

According to the BfR, there was a clear upward trend in the wearing of protective clothing: while at the start of the study only six percent of those surveyed spontaneously stated that they wore masks or gloves, the proportion was 34 percent in the last week of the survey.

However, on average between 20 and 25 percent stated in the course of the study that they did not take any personal measures to protect themselves from infection.

Despite the fact that one is not exposed to the risk of infection without protection, almost 30 percent of those questioned are not sure whether they can protect themselves from infection.

The proportion of people who fear major health effects of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on their health is 31 percent on average, with large fluctuations between 25 and 40 percent in the meantime.

Most of the measures met with approval

According to the communication, the majority of the measures initiated by the federal and state governments met with approval, although this has in some cases decreased significantly over time.

The acceptance of restricted travel activities, canceled events, limited customer numbers in shops and the distance regulation was comparatively stable. These measures were judged to be appropriate by at least 80 percent at all times.

In the course of the survey, the positive assessment of contact restrictions, the closing of cultural institutions, restrictions in schools and daycare centers as well as border controls declined significantly.

Older people are more concerned

Do young people perceive the corona pandemic differently than older people? The current BfR Corona Monitor also investigated this question.

The result: People aged 60 and over say more than those under 40 that they feel that the possible effects of a corona infection on their health are great.

At the same time, the concerns about the health effects of the coronavirus are more pronounced among those aged 60 and over than among the younger people, for whom the concerns about the economic effects often outweigh the concerns. (ad)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


Video: What Frightens Us? And Why? Threat Perception During and After COVID-19 (December 2021).