Monitoring and Analyzing Preventive Behavior

The project “Covid-Norms” investigates the protective behavior of the Swiss population and the public discourse about the most important measures to contain the Covid-19 pandemic. The monitoring, which is updated weekly, shows how widespread various protective measures are in the Swiss population, how much approval they receive from the population, and how they are discussed in the public discourse. For the population monitoring, the LINK Institute conducts weekly online surveys of 425 Swiss in the three major language regions. The content analysis of the public discourse includes the most important news media. Based on this monitoring, we derive recommendations for strategic communication on these protective measures (e.g., campaigns).

The monitoring is realized by the Department of Communication Science and Media Research (IKMZ) and the Research Center for the Public Sphere and Society (fög) of the University of Zurich. It is funded within the framework of the National Research Programme “Covid-19” (NRP 78) of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).

In our weekly online survey, the respondents indicate on a scale of 1 = “not consistent at all” to 5 = “very consistent” how consistently they engage in the various prevention behaviors. The figure shows the proportion of those who indicate that they engage in the respective behavior consistently or very consistently (scale points 4 and 5). The shaded area indicates the 95% confidence interval. The figure also contains the total number of all active SwissCovid apps per day as determined by the Federal Office of Information Technology, Systems, and Telecommunication (FOITT). The figures are rounded to 10,000 and are also available on the website of the Swiss Federal Statistical Office.

Reading example: In the first week of the survey (week 37, Sep 07–13, 2020), 60% of the respondents stated that they wear masks consistently or very consistently in situations where it is not possible to keep a distance. Fifty-two percent of the Swiss population stated that they consistently or very consistently keep their distance from people who do not live in their own household. At that time, between 1.6 million and 1.65 million SwissCovid apps were active.

Until week 44, we asked whether masks were also worn in situations where it was not obligatory, but no distance could be kept. In accordance with the regulation of the Federal Council, mask wearing was obligatory from week 45 onwards in all situations where no distance can be kept. The wording of the survey question had to be adapted accordingly. The change between weeks 44 and 45 can therefore also be method-related and should only be interpreted with appropriate caution.

In our weekly online survey, the respondents indicate how important they consider selected prevention behavior on a scale of 1 = “not important at all” to 5 = “very important.” The figure shows the proportion of those who say that the respective prevention behavior is important or very important (scale points 4 and 5). The colored, shaded area indicates the 95% confidence interval.

Reading example: In the first week of the survey (week 37, Sep 07–13, 2020), 63% of the Swiss stated that they find mask wearing important or very important in situations where it is not possible to keep a distance. Sixty-seven percent of the Swiss population find it important to keep a distance from people who do not live in their own household, and 45% think it is important to use the SwissCovid app.

In our weekly online survey, the respondents indicate on a scale of 1 = “very unlikely” to 5 = “very likely” how likely they would be to get vaccinated if a vaccination against the coronavirus were available. The figure shows the percentage of those who would likely or very likely be vaccinated (scale points 4 and 5). In addition, consent to three further preventive measures was asked on a 5-point scale. Here, too, the proportion of the population that tends to agree or fully agrees with the statements is shown (scale points 4 and 5). Quarantine: The willingness to go into quarantine as soon as possible in the event of a positive Covid-19 test result. Testing: To be tested as soon as possible if symptoms are detected. Contact tracing: After a diagnosis, ensure or support that all persons who may have been infected are informed.

Reading example: In the first week of the survey (week 37, Sep 07–13, 2020), 38% of the respondents stated that they would refuse a vaccination if a vaccination against the coronavirus was currently available. Forty-five percent would likely or very likely be vaccinated.

In our weekly online survey, the respondents indicate on a scale of 1 = “very unlikely” to 5 = “very likely” how likely they would be to get vaccinated if a vaccination against the coronavirus were available. The figure shows the percentage of those who would likely or very likely be vaccinated (scale points 4 and 5). The figure distinguishes between those declining, for whom vaccination is “very unlikely” or “unlikely” (scale points 1 and 2), those undecided, who choose the middle scale point (scale point 3), and those willing, for whom vaccination is “likely” or “very likely” (scale points 4 and 5).

Reading example: In the first week of the survey (week 37, Sep 07–13, 2020), 45% of the respondents stated that they would probably or very probably get vaccinated if a vaccination against the coronavirus was currently available. 38% were (rather) against it and 17% were undecided.

Every week, we record the number of media articles related to the coronavirus pandemic. We use automated content analysis to measure the number of media articles that are related to one of the four prevention measures. The figure presents the number of articles related to the prevention measures.

Reading example: In the first week of the survey (week 37, Sep 07–13, 2020), a total of 504 articles on the coronavirus pandemic were recorded, which dealt with the prevention measure of wearing face masks. In the same period, 316 articles on the prevention measure of vaccination were recorded.

Representativeness of the data

The sample for the survey is drawn from the LINK Internet panel. The results of the survey are thus representative of persons who are between 15 and 79 years of age and live in Switzerland, are on the Internet at least once a week for private purposes, and can fill out the questionnaire in German, French, or Italian.

A total of 22 online media were collected for the analysis of the media reports, taking into account media from German-speaking Switzerland (12 titles), Suisse Romande (7 titles), and Svizzera Italiana (3 titles). The sample includes the media with the widest reach per language region. It takes into account different types of media and includes subscription media, commuter media, and tabloid media as well as the websites of the public service broadcaster SRG SSR.