To investigate the coronavirus crisis and perceptions of risks associated with the virus, we analyzed data from the longitudinal Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) study and the SOEP-CoV study, which is embedded in the SOEP. In the period from April 1 to July 5, 2020, the CoV-questionnaire included the item: “How likely do you think it is that the novel coronavirus will cause you to become critically ill in the next 12 months?” Respondents responded by estimating the likelihood on a scale from 0 to 100 percent. The apparent difficulty of this question did not pose an obstacle for most of the 5,783 respondents: Only 2.3 percent of all respondents gave no answer. The average subjective probability of a life-threatening COVID-19 infection amounted to 25.9 percent (weighted average). This subjective estimate increases both with age and with preexisting medical conditions (self-reported in 2019). Those who had been tested themselves or who lived in the same household as someone who had been tested estimated a higher risk of becoming critically ill as a result of the novel coronavirus.
Keywords: COVID-19, Corona, subjective risk, SOEP-CoV