COVID-19 global physician survey results: Respondents support drastic measures

By Paul Basilio, MDLinx
Published March 20, 2020

Key Takeaways

For the past three weeks, M3 Global Research has been conducting ongoing weekly surveys of physicians and patients in the United States and Europe, including the United Kingdom. As large population centers begin to shelter in place, there has been a significant shift among healthcare practitioners (HCPs) regarding the perception of the threat level, along with concerns about preparedness.  

So how is the virus impacting local practices across the globe?

Survey results

Not surprisingly, there was an increase in the percentage of all HCP respondents who believe COVID-19 is a severe threat—from 28% in last week’s survey to 51% today. In Italy, the rate remained at 70%, which is the highest of all countries surveyed. Patients in France had the most marked increase: only 20% saw the virus as a severe threat last week, but 67% identified it as such this week.

Globally, HCP confidence in their respective governments has decreased from 70% to 60%. At the country level, French patients are overwhelmingly confident in their own government, with 83% of respondents saying they are supportive. In the UK, patients' confidence in their government’s preparedness dropped from 61% to 41%, and from 64% to 46% in the US. HCP confidence in Italy remains relatively consistent (66% to 71%), despite the increasing number of cases and the country’s coronavirus mortality rates, now the highest in the world.

Confidence at the hospital/facility level has remained steady for all respondents, although the US showed a drop from 71% to 64% in HCP confidence in their own facility’s preparedness.

Data show that HCPs increasingly support more drastic measures of containment. Globally, respondents’ support for school and business closures rose to 69% from 21% two weeks ago. Quarantines are now supported by 76% of HCPs. In addition, 72% of all HCP respondents now approve of suspending international travel.

Access the full survey results here.

US News

As of Sunday night, the number of confirmed US cases of COVID-19 has increased to 33,276 with 417 deaths (up from just 14,631 confirmed cases and 210 deaths on Friday). Positive or presumptive cases have been identified in all 50 states plus Washington, DC. 

Governor Gavin Newsom (D-CA) ordered all Californians to stay home one day before the state’s first confirmed fatality.

Starting Sunday evening, all “non-essential” workers in New York state were ordered to stay home to slow the spread of COVID-19. In Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Wolf (D-PA) announced a lockdown of all businesses that were not “life sustaining.”  

International News

In an update published March 19, the WHO announced that 7 new countries and territories reported coronavirus cases. “The number of confirmed cases worldwide has exceeded 200,000,” the WHO stated. “It took over three months to reach the first 100,000 confirmed cases, and only 12 days to reach the next 100,000.”

In the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a nationwide shutdown on Friday. Mr. Johnson suggested the UK could turn the tide against the coronavirus within 12 weeks if the right measures were taken.   

In China, restrictions are being eased as the government announced consecutive days of no new domestic COVID-19 cases. The government appears to be trying to restart the stalled economy and manufacturing sectors.

However, some experts expressed doubt that the government numbers are accurate, and fear the disease could spread once people venture outside again.

Worldwide, it appears that more men than women are dying from COVID-19. In Italy, men make up more than 60% of patients with the infection, and more than 70% of those who have died are male. In South Korea, approximately 61% of those affected were women, but the majority of fatalities (54%) were men.

Researchers say that the sex difference may equalize as more positive cases are identified, but they are unclear as to the reason for the current mismatch.

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