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Accepted for/Published in: Journal of Medical Internet Research

Date Submitted: Mar 18, 2020
Open Peer Review Period: Mar 18, 2020 - Mar 27, 2020
Date Accepted: Mar 27, 2020
(closed for review but you can still tweet)

The final, peer-reviewed published version of this preprint can be found here:

Using rapid online surveys to assess perceptions during infectious disease outbreaks: a cross-sectional survey on Covid-19 among the general public in the United States and United Kingdom

Geldsetzer P

Using rapid online surveys to assess perceptions during infectious disease outbreaks: a cross-sectional survey on Covid-19 among the general public in the United States and United Kingdom

DOI:

PMID: 32240094

Warning: This is an author submission that is not peer-reviewed or edited. Preprints - unless they show as "accepted" - should not be relied on to guide clinical practice or health-related behavior and should not be reported in news media as established information.

Using rapid online surveys to assess perceptions during infectious disease outbreaks: a cross-sectional survey on Covid-19 among the general public in the United States and United Kingdom

  • Pascal Geldsetzer; 

ABSTRACT

Background:

Given the extensive time needed to conduct a nationally representative household survey and the commonly low response rate in phone surveys, rapid online surveys may be a promising method to assess and track knowledge and perceptions among the general public during fast-moving infectious disease outbreaks.

Objective:

To apply rapid online surveying to determine knowledge and perceptions of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) among the general public in the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK).

Methods:

An online questionnaire was administered to 3,000 adults residing in the US and 3,000 adults residing in the UK who had registered with Prolific Academic to participate in online research. Strata by age (18 - 27, 28 - 37, 38 - 47, 48 - 57, or >=58 years), sex (male or female), and ethnicity (White, Black or African American, Asian or Asian Indian, Mixed, or “Other”), and all permutations of these strata, were established. The number of participants who could enrol in each of these strata was calculated to reflect the distribution in the US and UK general population. Enrolment into the survey within the strata was on a first-come, first-served basis. Participants completed the questionnaire between February 23 and March 2 2020.

Results:

2,986 and 2,988 adults residing in the US and the UK, respectively, completed the questionnaire. 64.4% (1,924/2,986) of US and 51.5% (1,540/2,988) of UK participants had a tertiary education degree. 67.5% (2,015/2,986) of US participants had a total household income between $20,000 and $99,999, and 74.4% (2,223/2,988) of UK participants had a total household income between £15,000 and £74,999. US and UK participants’ median estimate for the probability of a fatal disease course among those infected with SARS-CoV-2 was 5.0% (IQR: 2.0% – 15.0%) and 3.0% (IQR: 2.0% – 10.0%), respectively. Participants generally had good knowledge of the main mode of disease transmission and common symptoms of Covid-19. However, a substantial proportion of participants had misconceptions about how to prevent an infection and the recommended care-seeking behavior. For instance, 37.8% (95% CI: 36.1% – 39.6%) of US and 29.7% (95% CI: 28.1% – 31.4%) of UK participants thought that wearing a common surgical mask was ‘highly effective’ in protecting them from acquiring Covid-19. 25.6% (95% CI: 24.1% – 27.2%) of US and 29.6% (95% CI: 28.0% – 31.3%) of UK participants thought it prudent to refrain from eating at Chinese restaurants. Around half (53.8% [95% CI: 52.1% – 55.6%] of US and 39.1% [95% CI: 37.4% –40.9%] of UK participants) thought that children were at an especially high risk of death when infected with SARS-CoV-2.

Conclusions:

The distribution of participants by total household income and education followed approximately that of the general population. The findings from this online survey could guide information campaigns by public health authorities, clinicians, and the media. More broadly, rapid online surveys could be an important tool in tracking the public’s knowledge and misperceptions during rapidly moving infectious disease outbreaks. Clinical Trial: n/a


 Citation

Please cite as:

Geldsetzer P

Using rapid online surveys to assess perceptions during infectious disease outbreaks: a cross-sectional survey on Covid-19 among the general public in the United States and United Kingdom

Journal of Medical Internet Research. (forthcoming/in press)

DOI: 10.2196/preprints.18790

URL: https://preprints.jmir.org/preprint/18790

PMID: 32240094

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