Situational Awareness, Perceptions, Myths, and Health Protective Behavior Regarding Coronavirus Disease-19 among Common Educated People of Urban Population of Ajmer City: A Cross-sectional Study

Renu Bedi, Manish Choudhary, Narendra Verma, Bharat Meharda, Varun Agiwal


Background: The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a pandemic disease that has an unprecedented challenge for the health of human life in worldwide. Since the starting of the COVID-19 pandemic, proportion of the total infected population has increased exponentially because no specific antiviral drugs are available till date. Few vaccine candidates have passed Phase III trials and it is expected that its administration may start in January 2021. The USA, India, and Brazil are three top affected countries due to this pandemic. Hence, there is a need to gather the knowledge and preventive behaviors about the COVID-19 pandemic among the community. Objective: This study aimed to evaluate the situational awareness, risk perceptions, myths, and health protective behavior regarding COVID-19 outbreak among common educated urban population of Ajmer city. Materials and Methods: This is a community-based cross-sectional observational study using an anonymous semi-structured questionnaire. This survey was conducted in Ajmer city during the period from May 1, 2020, to June 30, 2020, and recorded the data in MS Excel. Study participants included 220 using convenient sampling. Out of these, 205 participants agreed for interview. Information on demographic data, risk perception, knowledge, information sources, and health behavior was gathered. Results: All of the participants (100%) heard about pandemic of COVID-19 and aware that it is not like common influenza. Television (100%) and social media (100%) were found to be the main source of information for this infection. Dyspnea (97%), fever (88%), and dry cough (80%) were found to be the main symptom while coughing/sneezing (96%) and shaking hands with COVID-19 patient (87%) were the main source of spread of COVID-19. Myths about protection from the COVID-19 involve frequent hand washing (100%), avoiding gatherings (93%), wearing mask (92%), and physical distancing (92%). Conclusion: This study reveals that people are aware about the COVID-19 infection but some myths/misconceptions also present in the community. According to our study, it can be advised that all people should take due precautions to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 till each and everyone get vaccinated. So far, we have to consider that “No one is vaccinated till everyone is vaccinated.”

Key words: Coronavirus disease-19, social vaccine, awareness, perceptions, myths, public health

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