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Dynamic public perceptions of the coronavirus disease crisis, the Netherlands, 2020.

Vries, M. de, Claassen, L., Wierik, M.J.M. te, Hof, S. van den, Brabers, A.E.M., Jong, J.D. de, Timmermans, D.R.M., Timen, A. Dynamic public perceptions of the coronavirus disease crisis, the Netherlands, 2020. Emerging Infectious Diseases: 2021, 27(4)
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A key component of outbreak control is monitoring public perceptions and public response. To determine public perceptions and public responses during the first 3 months of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in the Netherlands, we conducted 6 repeated surveys of ≈3,000 persons.

Generalized estimating equations analyses revealed changes over time as well as differences between groups at low and high risk. Overall, respondents perceived the risks associated with COVID-19 to be considerable, were positive about the mitigation measures, trusted the information and the measures from authorities, and adopted protective measures. Substantial increases were observed in risk perceptions and self-reported protective behavior in the first weeks of the outbreak. Individual differences were based mainly on participants’ age and health condition.

We recommend that authorities constantly adjust their COVID-19 communication and mitigation strategies to fit public perceptions and public responses and that they tailor the information for different groups.
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