This week’s Covid-19 report continues to reflect a large amount of uncertainty about the future. 28% of patients are currently very worried about ‘the unknown –how bad it will become’, and 29% about ‘how long we will have to live like this’.
These involve the same degree of concern as they have about their physical health (29%). Only concerns over their loved ones’ health are more important to them (56%).
Lack of PPE continues to dominate headlines around the world, and is the highest priority for our HCP respondents (66%), followed by increased testing for the public (57%), and HCPs (49%), and the introduction of antibody testing (48%).
In the US, confidence in the government has dropped slightly (by 2%), but has dropped by 4% at a local level as state governors consider their own plans for lifting restrictions, with some already starting to re-open.
The percentage of respondents who consider Covid-19 to be a severe threat continues to drop, with 36% of HCPs and 44% of patients this week. The UK’s HCPs and patients remain the most concerned, again reflecting uncertainty; in the UK this is centred around a lack of confidence in the number of deaths being reported, and whether an apparent drop in fatalities this week is disguising wider issues.
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Confidence in government and local plans
HCP confidence in government plans is reduced slightly across all markets with the UK seeing the biggest drop of 6%, reflecting significant uncertainty about how deaths are counted, the lack of PPE, and the continued absence of the Prime Minister.
HCP confidence in local plans also sees a small reduction, with larger changes in Germany (-5%), the UK (-5%), and the USA (-4%). Patient confidence in local plans in Italy has reduced from 72% last week to 50% this week, as numbers of new cases start to climb.
HCPs’ confidence in their own hospital’s plans continues to increase overall, but with small drops in Italy and the UK.
How serious of a threat is Covid-19 at a local level
The percentage of HCPs and patients who consider Covid-19 to be a severe threat dropped further this week, although patient concern is dropping at a slower rate than HCPs’.
HCPs and patients in the UK remain the most concerned, at 55% and 48% respectively, with HCPs more concerned this week than last week.
German HCPs and patients are the least concerned, with only 25% of each group considering Covid- 19 to be a severe threat at this time.
How can we contain Covid-19?
The trend of declining support for more restrictive containment measures continues this week. Less than half of HCPs (43%) now support the closure of businesses and schools. Even support for quarantines has decreased to 63%, the lowest since week two of the report.
By contrast, containment measures that remain popular are those that will likely become ‘normal’ over the next few months: vaccinations (68%), protective equipment (75%), and cancellation of large scale events (65%).
Staying up-to-date: media coverage
For both HCPs and patients this week there is an increase in the percentage of respondents who think media coverage is ‘alarmist and unnecessary’ (1% increase in HCPs and 2% for patients), and that there is ‘overwhelming and / or conflicting information’ (52% HCPs, 49% patients).
By contrast, the percentage of respondents who think coverage is ‘fair and balanced’ has dropped to 22% of HCPs and 21% of patients.
Staying up-to-date: official information
It remains the case that as the pandemic continues HCPs are checking official sources of information less frequently.
This week only 25% of HCPs are checking multiple times a day, down from 53% at the peak. 58% of respondents are checking daily, with 14% checking weekly, and 3% checking less than once a week.
Concern around availability of PPE remains high with 66% of respondents needing increased availability of protective equipment. This is particularly evident in the UK, where 82% of HCPs want increased PPE, and Spain (81%). Germany sits at the other end of the scale, but still 57% of HCPs would like to see more PPE.
Increased testing for the public has grown in popularity since last week, from 54% to 57%. This is particularly important to HCPs in the US (65%), and Spain (66%).
48% respondents want antibody testing, with no change since last week. Particular proponents include German HCPs (55%), French HCPs (54%) and US HCPs (52%).
Over the last few weeks PPE has gained more popularity in the question on containment measures, and mask wearing is commonly cited in the ‘other: please specify’ open end question here.
Although the three key messages from HCPs to the general public have not changed, their relative weighting has, as respondents’ countries start to consider relaxing restrictions.
In week three of this asking this question, health of their loved ones remains the area of most concern (56%), although that has dropped from 60% in week one. By contrast, concern about their own physical health has increased from 24% to 29% as it becomes increasingly clear that Covid-19 severely affects many different people, with and without, co-morbidities.