In the COVID-19 pandemic, marginalized groups like migrants are disproportionately affected. As panic, fear of neglect, and mistrusting institutions in these groups are presumed to be apparent, their detachment to health services still needs to be investigated. This study comparatively analyzed the level of panic and trust between South Koreans and immigrants who are living within highly affected areas of South Korea. Mann–Whitney-U-Test and Pearson correlation showed panic is more pronounced in the Korean group while having a similar panic display pattern with the immigrants. The immigrant group appears to highly trust the Korean health system, health institutions, local media, and the local native community. Beyond conventional expectations, participant’s average panic score showed a statistically significant positive correlation with items of the trust scale, indicating a level of individual reliance amid the pandemic panic. Thus, ascertaining institutional trust and matured citizenry are identified as factors for effective public health outcomes. During such a pandemic, this study also reminded the public health needs of immigrants as secondary citizens, and presumptions of immigrants’ mistrust in such settings might not always be true.
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