Public Perception of the First Major SARS-Cov-2 Outbreak in the Suceava County, Romania

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Feb 3;18(4):1406. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18041406.


The first months of 2020 were marked by the rapid spread of the acute respiratory disease, which swiftly reached the proportions of a pandemic. The city and county of Suceava, Romania, faced an unprecedented crisis in March and April 2020, triggered not only by the highest number of infections nationwide but also by the highest number of infected health professionals (47.1% of the infected medical staff nationwide, in April 2020). Why did Suceava reach the peak number of COVID-19 cases in Romania? What were the vulnerability factors that led to the outbreak, the closure of the city of Suceava and neighboring localities, and the impossibility of managing the crisis with local resources? What is the relationship between the population's lack of confidence in the authorities' ability to solve the crisis, and their attitude towards the imposed measures? The present article aims to provide answers to the above questions by examining the attitudes of the public towards the causes that have led to the outbreak of an epidemiological crisis, systemic health problems, and the capacity of decision makers to intervene both at local and national level. The research is based on an online survey, conducted between April and May 2020, resulting in a sample of 1231 people from Suceava County. The results highlight that the development of the largest COVID-19 outbreak in Romania is, without a doubt, the result of a combination of factors, related to the medical field, decision makers, and the particularities of the population's behavior.

Keywords: COVID-19; Romania; health crisis; public perception.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 / psychology*
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Public Opinion*
  • Romania / epidemiology