How do I choose between primary passion

Living with Corona : Worldwide Survey: Americans Want Priority Access To Vaccine

Berlin - Older people are less concerned than younger people. Americans want priority access to a corona vaccine. Family stress primarily affects women. These are only three results of the recently published survey “Living with Corona”. It shows how people around the world deal with the exceptional situation that Covid-19 brought with it.

Around 12,000 participants from more than 130 countries took part in the online survey, which was available for six months from March 2020 and was evaluated by a multidisciplinary team. The International Security and Development Center (ISDC) in Berlin is also involved in the project. Here are the first insights:


Young adults are actively taking many measures to counter the pandemic.

The international research team wanted to know what measures the participants are actively taking to counteract the corona crisis. Do you wash your hands? Wear a mask or disposable gloves. Do you use disinfectants? They were also asked whether they also avoid things in everyday life, such as shaking hands, touching their own face or surfaces, and using public transport.

The result: young adults take somewhat less active measures compared to older ones. However, the differences between the age groups - 18 to 25, 26 to 35, 36 to 45 and 45 and older - are generally very small. The assertion that young people are careless carriers of the virus and, in a sense, also “fearless”, cannot be upheld, is the conclusion of the researchers. They are well aware of their responsibility in the crisis.

Family stress during the pandemic has a greater impact on women.

All over the world, people in the corona lockdown were encouraged to stay at home and only leave their apartment if it was necessary - in some countries for a few days, in others for several weeks. Even today people work in the home office and spend a lot of time in their own four walls - and with their families. The scientists therefore wanted to know: What is the situation at home like?

According to the survey results, it is much more tense in large households with more than two people than in households with only two people. However, one more family member would not lead to greater tension.

The research group has a logical explanation for the fact that things are harmonious in two-person households: children. Many families had to look after their children due to school and daycare closings and also to teach them at home. That was very stressful for many.

Another result: Regardless of the size of the household, women, as partners and carers, experience family stress and tension much more than men. This suggests that the pandemic is creating and also perpetuating gender inequalities.

Older people are -although they are exposed to a greater health risk -less worried.

According to the survey, older people are more worried about their health than other age groups. However, they are much less stressed - in general, but also in relation to the current circumstances. Stress and nervousness (“I get nervous when I think about the current circumstances”), on the other hand, are felt primarily by people between 36 and 45 years of age.

The researchers therefore suspect that worrying about one's own health is not the decisive factor. Rather, economic, social, and emotional pressures would affect personal stress levels.

The result also suggests that older people are better able to cope with stress and also to reduce it. Cultural, emotional and socio-economic aspects should therefore receive just as much attention as health aspects, is the conclusion of the science team.

The approval for corona measures decreases after the first peak of deaths in their own country.

In order to find out how great the population's approval for corona protective measures is, the science team has divided the countries' results into two groups. The first group includes all responses collected prior to the day the Covid-19 death toll was highest in a given country (epidemic peak). The second group includes all the results recorded in the period following the peak of corona-related deaths in the country.

In general, the acceptance of government countermeasures is very strong, say the researchers. However, if you compare the two groups, the degree of approval drops significantly.

While this is 4.25 points in the first group, it drops to 4.01 points in the second group (1 = I do not agree with the measures at all, 5 = I fully support the measures). This suggests that people are less supportive of restrictive measures as soon as they think that a corona wave is over.

The majority of respondents think that a vaccine should be made available worldwide. Only the Americans want priority.

"Imagine a company in your country successfully developing a vaccine to treat Covid-19" - who should it primarily benefit? Most respondents agree that a corona vaccine should be made available worldwide, equally and at the same time. While 69 percent of participants in Germany choose this option, it is 55 percent in India, 56 percent in Argentina and 57 percent in Spain.

A majority of Americans, on the other hand, would like the drug to be made available first to their own country and then to other countries. There are 46 percent compared to 41 percent who would like “global availability”. According to the researchers, the United States is the only country in the world where there is a majority for preference. People from Brazil and Finland (41 percent each) or Portugal (42 percent) are also inclined to the option “My country should have priority”. In Germany it is only 25 percent.

At the same time, only a small fraction of people choose the third option: "The corona vaccine should first be made available to countries with the highest numbers of infections, then to others". In Germany and Portugal the figure is 6 percent each, in Australia 9 percent, and in India it is already 19 percent.

Younger people would be more willing than older people to sacrifice a larger proportion of their income if that could stop the spread of the virus.

At first glance, it doesn't seem obvious: people between the ages of 18 and 25 would forego a much larger proportion of their income compared to older people if this could contain the spread of the virus. Even more: the willingness to “pay” decreases linearly with age, according to the survey. Confusing, because it is usually not younger, but older people who are at risk for severe disease courses after an infection with Covid-19.

The researchers explain the results by saying that the social life of young people is much more strongly influenced by Corona. They are not financially secure, are afraid of losing their jobs and generally work in areas that have been and still are severely affected by the lockdown.

In addition, younger people have no social network that catches them and supports them. In other words, the social, economic and emotional aspects of the pandemic affected younger people much more than older people.


Anyone can see the results of the study, and that is exactly what the researchers want: “Many people are very well informed about the health aspect. For example, they know that they have to wash their hands or avoid large crowds in order not to get infected, ”explains economist and political scientist Anke Hoeffler from the University of Konstanz, who is part of the international research consortium.

But the survey gives an insight into the psyche. "Like the fact that stress is probably not so much a result of worrying about one's own health, but rather is emotionally and socio-economically conditioned."

The social challenges of the Corona crisis are important, but have not received enough attention in politics, Hoeffler continued. “Most people in a position of power don't even have to face the challenges of everyday life. For example, you don't have to worry about homeschooling. "

Recommendations for decision makers

As a scientist, she hopes that the survey results will stimulate people to think and rethink.

“Based on the survey insights, we then develop recommendations for decision-makers. In this way, municipalities and governments can be better informed about the measures they can take to respond to regional, national, but also global challenges, "adds Wolfgang Stojetz from the International Security and Development Center (ISDC) in Berlin and head of Data & Analysis in the" Living with the Corona “team.

“We are in a situation that poses a whole series of difficult challenges for all of us,” Stojetz continued. “We know from research that experiencing such difficult situations together can bring out both the best and the worst in us from a social point of view. Sometimes they divide, sometimes they unite groups and societies. "

If, for example, someone loses their job due to a pandemic or suffers a loss of income, according to Stojetz, the economic “shock” could directly increase risks in other areas. "Possible consequences are, for example, a deterioration in mental health and an increase in anger towards the state or towards fellow human beings."

Recognize social effects early

Where and when positive or negative social effects will dominate during the pandemic is initially difficult to predict. However, it is equally important to recognize them at an early stage, explains Stojetz, since negative social effects can also entail enormous risks in the form of interpersonal violence or violent protests. “Our data can help measure social challenges and negative implications for social behavior; and almost in real time. "

What Hoeffler finds particularly interesting: That people around the world do not seem to react so differently to the pandemic. "Rather, there are differences between individual groups, such as young and old."

Second survey revolves around the feeling of security

The second round of the “Living with Corona” survey began on October 1st and will probably run for six months, according to Anke Hoeffler. “The problem with the survey in general is that it is not representative. It is therefore important that as many people as possible answer the questions so that we can cover the entire spectrum. "

This time, besides the question of whether you had enough food available or had to do without a lot, it will also be about how safe you feel at home or in your own neighborhood. The survey takes about 15 minutes and is currently available in 18 languages. Other languages ​​are to follow.