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Fear of COVID-19 during confinement in Mauritius: a survey-based study

Citation

Goorah, Smita; Cheeneebash, Jayrani; Gopaul, Ashvin; Ramchurn, Satish (2020), Fear of COVID-19 during confinement in Mauritius: a survey-based study, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.h70rxwdgv

Abstract

Background: Fear has been a common response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic throughout the world. In Mauritius, the outbreak of COVID-19 has been an exceptional occurrence requiring stringent confinement of the population. In this study we have explored people’s reactions to COVID-19 during confinement, with emphasis on fear and the impact of news on the level of fear.

Methods: An anonymized online survey was carried out during confinement. Participation was voluntary. Participants reported fear level on a scale from 1 to 10, where no fear scored 1 and maximum fear scored 10. Participants reported the impact of news on their fear level on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 represented no impact and 10 represented maximum impact. Participants reported the status of their information about COVID-19 on a scale of 1 to 10.

Results: The self-rated level of fear during confinement had a mean of 5.09 with 95%CI [4.70, 5.47]. This increased to a mean of 6.39 with 95%CI [6.00-6.78] at the prospect of confinement being lifted. The difference was statistically significant (paired-sample T-test, p<0.05). With regard to the impact of news on fear of COVID-19, the mean for local news was 5.97 with 95%CI [5.59, 6.34] whereas that of worldwide news was 6.86 with 95%CI [6.50, 7.23]. Worldwide news had a more significant impact (paired-sample T-test, p<0.05). The information score about COVID-19 had a mean of 5.12 with 95%CI [4.71, 5.53].

Conclusions: Participants experienced a moderate level of fear of COVID-19 during confinement which increased at the prospect of confinement being lifted, implying that people felt safer during confinement. Their fear was influenced more by international news than by local news. Overall participants reported that they were moderately well informed about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keywords: COVID-19, fear, confinement, pandemic, impact of news, Mauritius

Methods

Participants

An anonymized online survey was carried out from the 29th April 2020 to the 5th May 2020 during the period of confinement in Mauritius. This corresponded to day 43 and day 49 of introduction of COVID-19 in Mauritius. The survey used snowball sampling technique on electronic media with participants being accessed via WhatsApp mobile application and via email. Although it was not possible to obtain formal ethics clearance during the confinement period, the study was carried out with all ethical guidelines being observed. Participation was voluntary and anonymous. The aim of the study was to assess the self-rated level of fear in participants during confinement and with respect to confinement being lifted. In addition, the impact of local and international news coverage on the level of fear was also investigated.

Survey

Regarding the fear level, participants were asked to report this on a scale from 1 to 10 where no fear scored 1 and the highest fear level scored 10.

The following 2 questions were used:

1. How do you rate your level of fear during confinement?

2. How do you feel about confinement being lifted?

The scores were categorized as follows: normal fear level=1, low fear level=2-4, moderate fear level=5-7, high fear level=8-10.

Regarding the impact of news on the level of fear, participants were asked to report the impact of news on their level of fear on a scale from 1 to 10 where 1 represented no impact and 10 represented high impact.

The following 2 questions were used:

1. How does the worldwide news impact on your fear of COVID-19?

2. How does the local news impact on your fear of COVID-19?

The scores were categorized as follows: no impact=1, low impact=2-4, moderate impact=5-7, high impact=8-10.

Finally, participants were asked about how well informed they were about the COVID-19 disease on a scale of 1 to 10.

The following question was used:

Do you believe people are well informed about COVID-19?

Usage Notes

There are no missing values.