A total of 707 participants completed the survey questionnaire (response rate = 97.3%) and participated in this study with a mean age of 25.03 (SD 4.26) years. The majority of the participants were male (n = 404, 57.1%), unmarried (n = 506, 71.61%), 554 (78.4%) had at least a bachelor’s degree, and the rest of the participants had an education level of higher secondary or below. Among the participants, 426 (60.3%) were students and 127 (17.9%) were employed either with the government or a private company. About 40% of participants reported having a monthly family income between 25,000-50,000 BDT. Most of the participants were from an urban area (n = 455, 64.4%) in Dhaka division (n = 319, 45.1%). A detail of the socio-demographic characteristics of the participants is shown in Table 1. Social media such as Facebook was the main source of knowledge about COVID-19 among participants (n = 498, 70.4%) followed by news media (e.g., news channels, newspapers) (66.3%), and internet (e.g., health organization’s website) (58.7%; Fig. 1).
The mean COVID-19 knowledge score for participants was 8.5 (SD: 2.6 range 0–13). Participant’s overall correct answer rate of this knowledge test was between 30.7 to 94.6%. Approximately 61.2% of the participants scored 80% or more and were considered having adequate knowledge, and 38.8% had inadequate knowledge (Fig. 2). A higher proportion of the participants (n = 646, 91.4%) identified common clinical symptoms of COVID-19, and wearing a face mask as an effective way to prevent transmission of COVID-19 (n = 632, 89.4%; Table 2). In addition, they recognized that people should avoid going to crowded places and avoid taking public transportation (n = 629, 89.0%). However, noticeable confusion was found among participants regarding the mode of transmission of COVID-19, and only 51.5% of participants correctly reported that the COVID-19 virus is airborne, and very few (n = 306, 43.3%) were able to respond correctly when asked if eating and touching wild animals could result in infection. Participant’s knowledge scores significantly differed across age-groups, genders, education levels, monthly family incomes, and residence places (p < 0.05; Table 3). Regression analysis revealed factors associated with adequate knowledge of the participants and found that female participants had higher odds of having adequate knowledge (vs. male, OR: 2.75, 95% CI = 1.82–3.45, p < 0.001). Similarly, participants who had a master’s degree and above (vs. secondary and blow, OR: 2.52, 95% CI = 1.35–4.67, p < 0.01) and lived in an urban area (vs. rural, OR: 3.02, 95% CI = 2.12–4.01, p < 0.001) had higher odds of having adequate knowledge regarding COVID-19 (Table 4).
When participants were asked question regarding attitudes on COVID-19, we found that a majority of the participants had a positive attitude toward COVID-19 (n = 558, 78.9%; Fig. 2) with a mean attitude score of 2.7 (SD: 0.3). Approximately 87% (n = 614) of the participants agreed that COVID-19 would successfully be controlled, and the rate of reporting “disagree” and “not sure” was 4.2% and 8.9%, respectively. When participants were asked whether Bangladesh was handling the COVID-19 health crisis well, most of the participants (n = 595, 84.2%) agreed with this statement with rates of disagreement and uncertainty at 5.8% and 10%, respectively. However, 55.3% (n = 391) believed that COVID-19 is a deadly disease when asked about the severity of the disease. Even so, participants were optimistic that self-awareness is necessary to remain free from COVID-19 with an 80.1% agreement (Fig. 3). A statistically significant association between attitude and socio-demographic variables such as age groups, marital status, education level, and place of residence (p < 0.05, Table 3) was found. Participant in age group 30 years or more (vs. 18–23 years, OR: 2.00, 95% CI = 1.18–2.78, p < 0.01), with monthly family income > 50,000 BDT (vs. < 25,000 BDT, OR: 1.50, 95% CI = 1.01–2.23, p < 0.05), and having adequate knowledge (vs. inadequate, OR: 6.41, 95% CI = 2.34–25.56, p < 0.001) were more likely to have a positive attitude (Table 4).
In terms of practices toward COVID-19 among participants, we found that 75.2% (n = 532) always washed their hands with soap or hand-sanitizer thoroughly and up to 70.6% (n = 499; Fig. 4) always wore a mask when going outside the home in recent days. However, 33.9% (n = 240) and 14.6 (n = 130) of participants reported “occasionally” and “never” maintained safe distance with people (3 feet) when going outside the home. Meanwhile, only 62.1% (n = 439) of participants avoided going to any crowded place, and the rate of reporting “occasionally” and “never” was 30.0% and 7.9%, respectively. The overall mean practice score of the participants was 2.5 (SD: 0.4), and only 51.6% of participants (n = 365; Fig. 2) had a good practice regarding COVID-19. Participant’s mean practice score was significantly different in terms of gender, education level, monthly family income, and place of residence (p < 0.05; Table 3). Regression analysis showed that female gender (vs. male, OR: 3.23, 95% CI = 2.13–6.57, p < 0.01), education of “master’s degree and above” (vs. secondary and below, OR: 1.44, 95% CI = 1.03-2.02, p < 0.05), occupation of “govt./private job” (vs. business, OR: 4.82, 95% CI = 1.45–17.23, p < 0.01), residing in urban area (vs. rural, OR: 5.42, 95% CI = 2.32–18.71, p < 0.001), and having adequate COVID-19 knowledge (vs. inadequate, OR: 8.93, 95% CI = 3.92–38.42, p < 0.001) were more likely to have good practices (Table 4).