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Coronavirus pandemic: risk awareness is higher in old age

10/2020, 09.04.2020

Third edition of the "BfR-Corona-Monitor" shows how different age groups assess the coronavirus pandemic

The impact of a coronavirus infection on health is estimated by 40 percent of participants to be large. For people aged 60 and over, this proportion is 54 percent. This is the result of the "Corona-Monitor", a weekly survey by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR). "Risk awareness is notably higher among people who are more at risk due to their age than among younger age groups", says BfR President Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel. "In all age groups, the majority of the participants feels well informed about what is happening regarding the novel coronavirus."

Infection through proximity to other people is still considered as a likely transmission pathway by the majority of respondents (76 %). Transmission via door handles is now only considered probable by 48 percent - 15 percentage points less than in the previous week. Respondents under 40 years of age rate the probability of infection via cash, food, pets, as well as dishes and cutlery higher than people aged 60 and over.

The restrictions on public life, such as the closure of most shops or the curfew imposed in some regions, are considered less appropriate by the population in Germany than in the weeks prior. In contrast, the acceptance of quarantine measures and cancelled events remains high.

People aged 60 years and over obtain information about the coronavirus mainly through television. In contrast, only 43 percent of this age group mention the internet as a source of information. People under 40 years of age, on the other hand, use television and the internet with similar frequency. These differences do not seem to have much influence on the perceived level of information: In all age groups, the majority of those surveyed feel well informed about what is happening regarding the novel coronavirus.

As in the previous week, 22 percent of the participants stated that they currently do not take any measures to protect themselves against a coronavirus infection. Wearing protective clothing such as masks and gloves, on the other hand, seems to become more and more common in all age groups: 23 percent said they wanted to protect themselves against an infection by wearing protective clothing - an increase of seven percentage points compared to the previous week. Avoiding the public is still the most common protective measure mentioned by the study participants (52 %).

The BfR is continually updating its FAQs on the topic of coronavirus, in light of the dynamically changing situation.

About the BfR-Corona-Monitor

The BfR-Corona-Monitor is a recurring (multi-wave) representative survey of the German population's perception of risks from the novel coronavirus. Since 24 March 2020, around 500 randomly selected people have been asked by telephone every Tuesday about their perception of the risk of infection and the protective measures they have taken, amongst other things. A summary of the data is regularly published on the homepage of the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment. More information about the method and sample can be found in publications about the BfR-Corona-Monitor.

About the BfR

The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) is a scientifically independent institution within the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) in Germany. It advises the German federal government and German federal states ("Laender") on questions of food, chemical and product safety. The BfR conducts its own research on topics that are closely linked to its assessment tasks.

This text version is a translation of the original German text which is the only legally binding version.



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