Germans feel generally well-informed about pandemic

Klaus Hurrelmann conducts research on health competence regarding the coronavirus in Germany. 

A large majority of the population in Germany feels well- or even very well-informed about the coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey conducted by the Allensbach Institute for Public Opinion Research for health researchers at the Hertie School in Berlin and the University of Bielefeld. The survey focused on the health competence of citizens, meaning their assessment of how easily they can find information on the coronavirus pandemic that enables them to make decisions on how to behave. 

According to Klaus Hurrelmann, Professor of Pubic Health and Education, this overall positive assessment “is due to clear decisions and measures taken by German political actors and public authorities, which have generally been perceived as understandable and useful. This comes s a surprise,  because previous studies had shown that more than half of the population has great difficulty in finding and correctly classifying the necessary information on health prevention and the management of diseases.”

As the study shows, 29 percent of those surveyed feel very well informed, and a further 61 percent feel well-informed. Only nine percent consider themselves less well-informed, and only one percent of the population does not feel well-informed at all. Nearly 90 percent consider it easy or very easy to find information on the internet about how to avoid catching COVID-19 or to understand the instructions of their doctors, pharmacists or nurses on  protective measures.

It appears that people have received a great deal of clinical information on the virus, and so much concrete information through decisions of the federal and state governments on how to behave, that they feel safe. Klaus Hurrelmann: “The results of this study should be considered in view of the fact that information on the coronavirus is currently penetrating everyday life both socially and digitally and is highly relevant to everyday life.”  

Nevertheless, the study also comes to a problematic finding: A majority of the population (56 percent of those surveyed) feels insecure in the current crisis due to the wide variety of information on COVID-19. People are uncertain about what information they should trust. This uncertainty is more widespread among younger people: 14 percent of people under 45 years of age feel very uncertain, another 47 percent feel somewhat uncertain. By contrast, seven percent of people aged 60 and over feel very uncertain and 39 percent somewhat insecure about which information they should trust in connection with the coronavirus pandemic.

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