Tell it to SunStar: Harvard launches Covid-19 survey

THE Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) and Brigham and Women’s Hospital recently launched a coronavirus disease (Covid-19) online survey that aims to help strengthen the global public health response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The self-funded study will analyze socio-behavioral aspects of outbreak control that will be used to better inform national, regional, and global health communication strategies and response efforts.

This survey’s goal is to have the data needed to advocate for a people-centered response that addresses the fear and needs of people in a constructive manner, so that experts and people work together toward a common goal—controlling this pandemic.

A respondent can view the publicly available results immediately after taking the survey.

People will not adopt protective behaviors if they are misinformed, unaware of even basic facts, or if they don’t trust the sources of information and advice they receive. Understanding these factors is important to drive a better global response.

Translated in 15 languages, the online survey is open to all and shall run for at least three weeks at

In just a day since it was launched, the survey already has over 2,000 responses from 109 countries, including Asian nations like China, Philippines, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, and Singapore, among others.

As of writing, 60 percent of the respondents are confident in the official information about Covid-19 released by their respective national authorities. However, most of them only have “little confidence” over the ability of their respective national authorities (49 percent) and health services (45 percent) to control the outbreak.

Despite this, most of the respondents remain optimistic. A total of 60 percent are confident that they are able to protect themselves from the pandemic, and 45 percent are confident that they will not contract the disease.

Most of them have been preparing themselves by regular handwashing (96 percent) and keeping distance from sick people (70 percent).

These are only initial survey results. As more people participate, the survey is expected to generate a better representation of what people think about the pandemic and the responses to it.

HHI’s research, particularly on the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has demonstrated that trust and open communication are critical to effective containment of infectious outbreaks. With this, the research center is determined to understand how public trust and knowledge of the Covid-19 outbreak may be impacting its spread. (Harvard Humanitarian Initiative -

Program on resilient communities)


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