Worldwide opinion on exaggeration of coronavirus outbreak Mar. 14, 2020, by country

Survey results from countries around the world show that significant shares of people living in the United States, Russia, and Australia believed the media had overblown the coronavirus pandemic. In India, almost three-quarters of respondents said the media had exaggerated the extent of the outbreak.

Cases surge in the United States

At the time of the survey in mid-March, the United States had confirmed around 1,700 COVID-19 cases, leading many respondents to agree that the media had exaggerated the spread of the virus. By the end of April, the United States was one of the most severely affected countries worldwide, with more than one million cases – infections in the U.S. accounted for one-third of all global cases. Approximately 30 percent of U.S. cases had occurred in the state of New York, which had reported more cases than any other country outside of the United States.

India provides vaccine hope

When the media survey was conducted, fewer than 100 coronavirus cases had been confirmed in India, but a sharp increase in numbers soon led to the country’s Prime Minister imposing a nationwide lockdown. As the global race to develop a safe treatment for COVID-19 intensifies, many experts are looking to India. The country has emerged as a major vaccine manufacturer in recent years, developing treatments that are used against leprosy and polio. Several Indian firms have started work on a potential vaccine, but there are many obstacles to overcome, and millions of doses will be needed worldwide.

Share of respondents worldwide who agree that the media has exaggerated the extent of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak as of March 14, 2020, by country

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Release date

March 2020



Survey time period

March 12 to 15, 2020

Number of respondents

10,000 respondents

Age group

16-74 years

Method of interview

Online survey

Supplementary notes

Original question: Do you agree or disagree with the following: The media has exaggerated the extent of the coronavirus outbreak. Strongly agree, somewhat agree, neither agree nor disagree, or don't know.
This statistic shows proportion of respondents who answered with "strongly agree" or "somewhat agree".

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