IJERPH, Vol. 19, Pages 169: Synonyms and Symptoms of COVID-19 and Individual and Official Actions against the Disease—A Brief Online Survey 6 Months into the Pandemic and on the Threshold of the Second Wave in Germany

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph19010169

Katharina Auth
Sabine Bohnet
Cornelius Borck
Daniel Drömann
Klaas F. Franzen

To control the ongoing global pandemic due to SARS-CoV-2, we need to influence people’s behavior. To do so, we require information on people’s knowledge and perception of the disease and their opinions about the importance of containment measures. Therefore, in August 2020, we conducted an anonymous cross-sectional online survey on these topics in 913 participants in Germany. Participants completed a questionnaire on various synonyms and symptoms of corona virus and specified the importance they attributed to individual and regulatory measures. The virus was linked more closely with most synonyms and the discovery in China than with the places of the first larger European outbreaks. General (cold-like) symptoms, such as “cough” and “fever,” were more widely known than COVID-19-specific ones, e.g., “loss of taste and smell.” The widely promoted individual measures “distancing,” “hygiene,” and “(facial) mask wearing” were rated as highly important, as were the corresponding official measures, e.g., the “distancing rule” and “mask mandate.” However, the “corona warning app” and a “vaccine mandate” were rated as less important. A subgroup analysis showed broad agreement between the subgroups on nearly all issues. In conclusion, the survey provided information about the German population’s perception and knowledge of the coronavirus five months into the pandemic; however, participants were younger and more educated than a representative sample. To learn from the beginning and still ongoing pandemic and develop concepts for the future, we need more conclusive studies, especially on the acceptance of further specified lockdowns, the population’s willingness to be vaccinated, and the influence of misinformation on public opinion.

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