Supplementary Material: Why believing that Chinese labs accidentally released the new coronavirus is bad for public health

This is a supplementary page to the article ‘Why believing that Chinese labs accidentally released the new coronavirus is bad for public health’. Click here to read it.

This study is part of the Gapminder Foundation’s Ignorance Project. The survey with ten questions was answered online by around 500 respondents in each of the 5 countries (the UK, USA, Italy, Japan, Brazil). These countries were all affected by the coronavirus pandemic when the surveys were carried out between March 14-19, 2020. Italy had by far the most confirmed COVID-19 cases per million people at that time (300 per 1 million compared to UK 10 per 1 million) and was in nation-wide lockdown.

Google Surveys was used to disseminate the surveys, an online marketing research platform that can carry out nationwide surveys weighted to be as representative as possible based on ‘survey walls’ and the Google Opinion Reward app on Android. Respondents answer the questions anonymously, only an age range (minimum age 18) and gender are known.

Data from the 5 countries were pooled and analysed using StataMP 15. Basic demographics were summarized, and logistic regression models were fitted using complete cases analysis, adjusted for age and gender. Furthermore, all analyses were corrected using the survey weights in order to make the results as nationally representative as possible.

In total, 2608 respondents completed the survey, with a response rate of 65%. Due to missing information for age and gender, 517 (20%) participants were excluded from the complete case analyses. 47% of the sample was female and 54% of the sample was below 45 years of age.

Because this is cross-sectional data, reverse causality cannot be ruled out. Furthermore, due to the nature of the surveys, we could only adjust for age and gender in our analyses. Other unmeasured confounders will likely influence the observed associations. The surveys were carried out online, excluding people (likely elderly) who use the Internet less.