Published online May 19, 2021. doi: 10.5498/wjp.v11.i5.181
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
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was initially sparked in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei Province, and subsequently spread to the entire province and other parts of China, and then around the globe. Measures for effective control of outbreaks include identifying the causal organisms, applying appropriate therapies, and developing vaccines, as well as improving understanding among the general public.
COVID-19 has grown into a pandemic and may become endemic. Knowledge gaps always exist about disease epidemics, their potential risks, and the clinical spectrum.
We designed and conducted this survey 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 from different provinces in mainland China.
Overall, this comprehensive survey revealed that the general public in China is highly aware of the basic information concerning COVID-19 and the necessary precautions. Interestingly, more respondents were aware of the term severe acute respiratory syndrome than COVID-19 and Middle East respiratory syndrome. The majority of the respondents indicated that knowledge about COVID-19 was received mainly from WeChat, followed by TV, friends, and QQ (a Chinese instant messaging software service).
We comprehensively evaluated the knowledge, awareness, and perceptions about COVID-19 among the general Chinese population. The overall knowledge, awareness, and attitudes about the disease are at a high level, but strikingly, 2.8% of the participants in China were unaware of the current COVID-19 pandemic, which is unexpected.
We emphasize the importance of initiating health promotion programs to educate the public and healthcare workers about infectious diseases in general for better preparedness for future epidemics and pandemics.