Coronavirus: physician and patient perspectives – 2nd week

In the second week of this study we've analysed responses from 4,194 Healthcare professionals and 935 patients in Europe and the USA

 As the situation has changed globally we’ve started to see shifts in data; even last week as more cases were confirmed in the UK data changed dramatically between Wednesday and Friday. 

This week has seen significant increases in the percentage of doctors that consider the threat of Covid-19 to be severe, but more reassuringly, increased confidence in government preparedness to handle an outbreak. Only 5% of respondents reported seeing any incidences of viral mutation, with the highest number reported in Italy (9% of Italian respondents) – we will continue to monitor this over the coming weeks.


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Confidence in government and local plans

Global HCP confidence in government plans has increased from 60% last week to 70%. The biggest shifts are in the UK, where confidence is up to 61% from 49% last week, and Spain, where confidence has dropped from 60% last week to 52% this week. Italy is largely similar, but with a small increase from 63% to 66%. By contrast, patient confidence in government plans has decreased across the board. Across all markets it has decreased from 58% to 53%, with significant drops in Germany (92% last week to 77% this week), and the UK (64% to 50%).

Confidence in local plans is similarly increased in the global HCP audiences, from 59% last week to 68% this week, with no significant shifts at country level. In the patient responses however, confidence is largely the same as last week other than in Spain, which has dropped from 61% to 49% this week.

At a hospital level there is very little change amongst the HCP respondents, with Italian doctors actually more confident than last week (64% vs 60%). The exception is in Germany, where confidence in their own hospital or practice’s ability to cope has decreased from 75% to 64%.

How serious of a threat is Covid-19 at a local level

The biggest shift in opinion from last week to this week is seen in the perceived threat of Coronavirus to respondents’ local communities. Last week only 16% HCPs perceived it to be a severe threat, this has increased to 28% globally. In Italy, where last week 33% considered it to be a severe threat, it has more than doubled to 70%. Spain has also increased dramatically, from 12% to 27%, potentially as doctors have seen the impact in Italy.

Patients are also increasingly worried, with the number considering it as a severe threat increasing to 25%, from 17% last week. Outliers are France, which has seen a decrease from 25% to 20% (although earlier in the week that had been as low as 16%), and Germany, from 16% to 8%. Unsurprisingly, and in parallel with the HCPs, Italian patients’ concern has more than doubled from 31% to 65%.


How can we contain Covid-19?

In terms of containment measures, most have gained in support with the exception of public information, and vaccinations, perhaps as respondents realise they can not be immediately effective.

This week we added in ‘hand hygiene’ as it was mentioned consistently in the free text responses last week and this week it’s become the ‘best’ containment measure, recommended by 76% respondents. Support has increased for the cancellation of large scale events, from 41% last week to 57% this week, with 84% Italian doctors advocating this as a containment measure.

Staying up-to-date: media coverage

For HCPs, concern over media coverage has dropped slightly, from 71% last week to 67% this week. Spain and the USA report the highest levels of concern over the media coverage, at 76% and 78% respectively. The UK has increased slightly from 59% to 63%, but Italy has dropped significantly from 79% last week to 55% which suggests that the local media have responded to the increase in cases with responsible reporting.

Patient opinion overall is largely unchanged since last week, although there is a slight increase who think media coverage is ‘overwhelming and / or contradictory’, and a small decrease in those who think that usable information has been under-reported, which reflects the media focus on communicating containment approaches such as hand hygiene.

Staying up-to-date: official information

87% doctors are now checking government / health department information on Covid-19 at least daily, compared to 73% last week. 32% of these are checking information multiple times a day versus 21% last week.

Doctors in Italy are updating themselves most frequently, with 60% of doctors reviewing updates multiple times a day. 22% of US doctors are only checking updates weekly or less frequently.

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