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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 3-8

The need of the hour: Understanding the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of general public and at-risk groups in the COVID-19 pandemic management

1 Department of Surgical Oncology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Mangalagiri, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, India
2 Department of General Surgery, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, India
3 Department of Neurology, Epilepsy and Cognitive Neurophysiology Lab, University of Alabama at Birmingham, AL, USA
4 Department of Community and Family Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, India
5 Department of Ophthalmology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Pratyusha Ganne
Department of Ophthalmology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Mangalagiri, Guntur - 522 503, Andhra Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/JME.JME_136_20

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Background: Understanding the public awareness, attitudes, and practices is needed to successfully control the COVID-19 pandemic. With the second wave of the pandemic spreading and reinstatement of lockdown in many countries, there is an urgent need to understand the knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) of the people (especially the high-risk groups) to control mortality and morbidity. Aims: To explore the KAP of the general population of India and in particular, the at-risk groups, i.e., aged >55 years and those with comorbidities (diabetes, hypertension, chronic kidney disease, ischemic heart disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) who are at a high risk for developing severe COVID-19 infection and death. Patients and Methods: In this cross-sectional study, the questionnaires were administered through online survey links. The questionnaire had four sections, one for demographics and three each for KAP. The KAP scores were compared for a priori defined questions using Chi-square test, t-test, or ANOVA appropriately. Bonferroni corrected P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Results: Of the1259 responses, 83 (6.6%) were above 55 years and 193 (15.3%) had comorbidities. Higher education and income groups were more informed about COVID-19 disease (F > 18.5, P < 0.002). Participants in the at-risk groups had the same level of KAP scores as the general public. While a seemingly higher proportion of the at-risk group followed use-of-mask (n = 206, 94%) and 20 seconds of handwashing (n = 142, 65%), it was not significantly higher compared to the general population (P's > 0.4). Of the 1259 participants, 7%–10% of them did not practice social distancing at all times and 5%–7% were not wearing a mask at all times. Only 538 (42.7%) participants believed that this COVID-19 pandemic will be successfully controlled. Conclusions: This study highlights that at-risk groups are not better prepared compared to the general public, which is the need of the hour to prevent over-crowding of health systems and possibly mitigating COVID-19-related mortality.

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