You are here:

Coronavirus: Around one third believe they cannot protect themselves from an infection

01/2022, 24.01.2022

Those who are 60 years or older are more likely than younger people to think they can prevent an infection

The infection numbers in Germany have increased considerably. Without a strong restriction of contacts, this also increases the risk of encountering an infected person. This is also reflected in the population's perception of how well they are protected from an infection. This is shown by the results of the current BfR-Corona-Monitor, a regular survey commissioned by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR). Whereas at the start of the fourth infection wave at the beginning of October, 14 percent thought that they would not be able to prevent an infection, this figure has more than doubled in the meantime and currently stands at 30 percent. "Especially people between the ages of 40 and 59 consider their risk of infection to be high," says BfR-President Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel. "Those aged 60 and over, on the other hand, are the most confident that they can avoid an infection."

In particular, proximity to other people is seen as a possible risk of infection. 67 percent of the respondents consider the probability of becoming infected through close contact with others to be high. Furthermore, 42 percent think that smear infections via door handles pose a high risk. Theoretically, coronaviruses can get onto surfaces through direct sneezing or coughing. However, an infection via this route is rather unlikely, as coronaviruses do not usually remain active for long on dry surfaces and, thus, comparatively few infectious viruses are transmitted via touch.

To protect themselves from an infection, masks are still the preferred method: 94 percent said they had worn them in the last two weeks. 74 percent made sure to keep more distance to other people, and about two-thirds each said they wanted to protect themselves from an infection by washing their hands more thoroughly, ventilating their rooms more frequently or taking advantage of the testing services. People under the age of 40 reported most frequently that they got tested for the coronavirus (81 percent), while the lowest proportion was among people aged 60 and over (47 percent).

The BfR has published FAQs on the topic of coronavirus:

About the BfR-Corona-Monitor

The BfR-Corona-Monitor is a recurring (multi-wave) representative survey on the risk perception of the population in Germany towards 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.



Cookie Notice

This site only uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. Find out more on how we use cookies in our Data Protection Declaration.