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Coronavirus: The majority is not worried, but still cautious

22/2020, 15.06.2020

Current data from the "BfR-Corona-Monitor" show that only a relatively small part of the population is concerned about impacts on their own lives

Although many measures against the coronavirus have been loosened, only comparatively few new infections have occurred in Germany in recent weeks. This fact also seems to influence risk perception. In the current "BfR-Corona-Monitor", a recurring survey by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), only 19 percent of respondents stated that they were concerned about the impact of the coronavirus on their own economic situation. Only 13 percent are concerned about possible consequences for physical health. "The last few weeks have given us a respite," says BfR President Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel. "Most people do not currently think that they are under immediate threat from the virus."

The consequences of the novel coronavirus on social relationships are of concern to 16 percent of the respondents, while 57 percent are rather not worried. Ten percent are concerned about their mental health, while for 72 percent these worries play a marginal role.

Although this means that there is relatively little concern about the consequences for one's own life, there is still widespread support for measures to contain the disease. At least 80 percent of the respondents consider measures such as a mandatory distance, cancellation of events or mandatory use of masks to be appropriate. The least accepted of the polled measures were the continuing restrictions in school and day-care centres (64 percent).

For the first time, the number of participants who took concrete precautions to protect themselves from an infection was determined using a predefined list of protective measures. In the previous waves of the survey, however, respondents were able to state openly and without any further input the specific precautions they were undertaking at the respective time. Accordingly, at least 90 percent of respondents state that they try to prevent an infection by wearing masks or washing their hands thoroughly. 79 percent said they meet their family and friends less frequently and 73 percent stated that they generally leave their homes less often. Moreover, even though the days of empty toilet paper shelves are over, 19 percent still say they are stockpiling more supplies.

The BfR is continually updating its FAQs on the topic of coronavirus.

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. Every week between 24 March and 26 May 2020, around 500 randomly selected people were asked by telephone about their assessment of the risk of infection and their protective measures, among other things. Since June 2020, the survey is continued every two weeks with about 1,000 respondents each. 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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