More people are now wearing protective facial masks than the MERS outbreak as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases has been growing.
A research team led by Professor Yoo Myeong-soon of Seoul National University Graduate School of Public Health said Friday that in its survey of 1,000 grownups nationwide, 81.2 percent replied they “wear a mask when outing.” The ratio is about 2.5 times the figure (35.3 percent) from a similar survey conducted right after the MERS epidemics back in 2016. The new survey was conducted online from January 31 to February 4.
In reality, South Korean citizens are found to be scared more by the new coronavirus than they were the MERS coronavirus. Anxiety (60.4 percent) was the most common among the different emotions people feel when they read news reports. Anxiety was trailed by fear (16.7 percent), shock (10.9 percent), and anger (6.7 percent). Six (60.9 percent) in 10 people surveyed said, “The new coronavirus will infect more people than MERS,” while 59.2 percent of the respondents said the Wuhan coronavirus will cause more serious damage to our society than MERS.
“Despite the objective fact the mortality of the new coronavirus is lower than that of MERS, people in our society have more prevailing sense of dangers towards the ongoing outbreaks,” the research team said. “The government, experts, the media and citizens should engage in effective communications.”