Basic Study
Copyright ©The Author(s) 2021. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Psychiatr. May 19, 2021; 11(5): 181-200
Published online May 19, 2021. doi: 10.5498/wjp.v11.i5.181
COVID-19 knowledge, risk perception, and information sources among Chinese population
Zhong-Ren Ma, Sakinah Idris, Qiu-Wei Pan, Zulqarnain Baloch
Zhong-Ren Ma, Sakinah Idris, Qiu-Wei Pan, Biomedical Research Center, Northwest Minzu University, Lanzhou 730030, Gansu Province, China
Sakinah Idris, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Batu Caves 68100, Selangor, Malaysia
Zulqarnain Baloch, Center for Molecular Medicine in Yunnan Province, Kunming University of Science and Technology, Kunming 650500, Yunnan Province, China
Author contributions: All authors contributed to the concept of this study; Pan QW, Ma ZR, and Baloch Z designed the study; Baloch Z and Idris S analyzed the data and wrote the manuscript; Pan QW, Ma ZR, and Baloch Z approved the final manuscript; all authors reviewed and approved the final draft.
Institutional review board statement: The protocol used in this study was in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki and was approved by the Ethics Committee at Northwest Minzu University Lanzhou, China.
Conflict-of-interest statement: The authors declare that they have no competing interests to disclose.
Data sharing statement: The aggregate data supporting findings contained within this manuscript will be shared upon request submitted to the corresponding author.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article that was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Corresponding author: Zulqarnain Baloch, PhD, Professor, Center for Molecular Medicine in Yunnan Province, Kunming University of Science and Technology, Wu Jiaying Street, Chenggong District, Kunming 650500, Yunnan Province, China.
Received: November 20, 2020
Peer-review started: November 20, 2020
First decision: December 21, 2020
Revised: January 8, 2021
Accepted: April 9, 2021
Article in press: April 9, 2021
Published online: May 19, 2021

Measures for effective control of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic include identifying the causal organisms, applying appropriate therapies, and developing vaccines, as well as improving understanding among the general public.


To evaluate the knowledge, awareness, perception, and response of the general public to COVID-19 in China.


A detailed questionnaire comprising 47 questions designed in both English and Chinese was developed. The survey was conducted via WeChat, a multipurpose messaging, social media, and mobile payment app that is widely used by the Chinese population. In total, 1006 participants responded, and most of them were from different provinces of mainland China.


Overall, this comprehensive survey revealed that the general public in China is highly aware of the basic information concerning COVID-19 and its precautions. Interestingly, more respondents (99.3%) were aware of the term severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) than COVID-19 (97.2%) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) (73.4%). Among them, 2.4%, 1.6%, and 0.9% said that they or their family members or friends were affected by COVID-19, SARS, and MERS, respectively. The majority of the respondents (91.2%) indicated that knowledge about COVID-19 was received mainly from WeChat, followed by TV (89%), friends (76.1%), and QQ (a Chinese instant messaging software service) (57.7%).


The general public in China is highly aware of COVID-19 and the necessary precautions. Unexpectedly, 2.8% of the participants were unaware of the current epidemic. The remaining information gaps highlight the necessity of further enhancing awareness and preparedness.

Keywords: COVID-19, Knowledge, WeChat, China, Pandemic, Knowledge

Core Tip: This study comprehensively evaluated the knowledge, awareness, and perceptions about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) among the general Chinese population. Overall, the general public is well aware of the COVID-19 epidemic, knows what COVID-19 is, and is familiar with the precautionary measures. Strikingly, this survey indicated that 2.8% of the participants in China were unaware of the current COVID-19 epidemic.