Coronavirus: physician and patient perspectives – 4th week

The fourth week of this study reflects the opinions of 4,797 Healthcare professionals (HCPs) and 912 members of the general public

As the UK joined the other countries in lockdown, the perceived threat of Covid-19 in local communities increased. By contrast, in Germany, with a comparatively low death rate and good availability of critical care beds, only 35% of HCP respondents consider Covid-19 to be a severe threat, and confidence in the government’s plans is at 84%.

In the US, the picture is largely unchanged from last week, although the number of patients that think Covid-19 is a severe threat has increased by 10% to 47%.

Coronavirus: 4 weeks comparison
There is no incentive available for participation, and the respondents represent a random sample of all M3 Global Research panel members.

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Confidence in government and local plans

Overall, confidence in governments’ preparedness has dropped slightly compared to last week, reflecting decreased confidence in most markets. HCP confidence in the French government’s plans has dropped from 77% to 64%, but patient confidence has dropped from 83% to 49%. For the first time, Italian confidence has decreased, consistent with the high death rate. By contrast, in Germany, both patient and HCP confidence is increased – the only market where this is the case.

Confidence in local plans is mostly unchanged, with a 1% increase across patients and HCPs. The data largely reflects that seen in the question about governmental confidence. An exception is the UK, where HCPs have seen a massive escalation this week in planning at a local level, with the announcement of temporary hospitals and the opening of Covid ‘hubs’. Confidence in local plans in the UK is up from 37% last week, to 54%.

In terms of preparedness at a hospital-level, the picture largely echoes that of last week, although Italy has seen a small decrease, with the UK and Germany seeing increased confidence.

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

Unsurprisingly, given the rapid increase of cases in the markets surveyed, the perceived threat level of Covid-19 continues to increase, with the number of HCPs considering it a severe threat at 54% vs 51% last week. The patient increase is much more distinct though, up 10% from last week.

At a country-level there are some significant changes. Whereas France and Spain have seen small increases, UK HCPs’ perceived threat level has increased from 51% to 69% in a week that has seen ‘lockdown’ introduced across the UK.

Germany and Italy have seen the first decreases, for very different reasons. Germany remains by far the lowest in terms of concern, with just over one-third (35%) of respondents considering Covid-19 a severe threat. The only other country under 50% is the USA at 49%. In Italy, the perceived severity has dropped very slightly, reflecting optimism as the spread starts to slow.

How can we contain Covid-19?

As the tougher containment measures become ‘the new normal’ in some markets, and countries new to lockdown get used to it, support for the majority of containment measures continues to grow, with 72% HCPs recommending closing businesses and schools.

Support for protective equipment has continued to grow over the four weeks of the study, now at 77%, reflecting the shortage of PPE and its importance for HCPs working on the frontline.

Less than half of respondents (46%) think that halting public transport would be an effective containment measure, although this increases to 58% in the UK, where there has been much debate over whether the London underground should be used.

Staying up-to-date: media coverage

The number of respondents that consider media coverage to be ‘alarmist and unnecessary’ continues to drop, now at 11% compared to 32% in week one.

However, the sheer volume of media coverage is still an area of concern, with 50% HCPs and 45% patients agreeing that there is ‘overwhelming and / or conflicting information’

Staying up-to-date: official information

Interestingly, this week has seen a drop in the number of HCPs accessing official information multiple times a day, down from 53% last week, to 45%. However, 93% are still checking for new developments at least once a day, a decrease of 3% from last week.

As clinical pressures increase and HCPs become more used to managing Covid-19 cases they are less reliant on constant communications, but also less able to check multiple times a day


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