Survey finds shift from COVID-19 fears to income concerns

Surveys on public attitudes to coronavirus (COVID-19) conducted in four States over the past month have found a shift from what were widespread anxieties about the uncertainty of the epidemic to more pressing concerns about livelihood issues, researchers said on Wednesday.

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Two surveys were conducted in Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Punjab from March 23 to 31 and from April 1 to 13, involving 866 and 1,237 people respectively.

“If the first survey brought out the general anxieties about the uncertainty brought by COVID-19, what we found in responses in the second survey is growing specific anxieties about income, availability of funds for daily needs and the day-to-day impact on livelihood,” said Shirley Yan, a researcher at Noora Health, a healthcare non-profit. which released the results. The surveys were conducted by YosAid Innovation Foundation, its non-profit associate partner in India.

The idea was to study how COVID-19 is being understood and responded to by the community, Ms. Yan said. One of the key findings was the very high degree of awareness about COVID-19 in all four States, with 99% of all participants having heard about it.

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It also found that over the past month, risk perceptions have also changed. Respondents with low risk perceptions attributed it to their being vigilant and following government recommendations and rules. On prevention strategies, handwashing was most commonly cited — suggesting an overall increase in awareness on hygiene, post-COVID-19 — followed by wearing a mask and avoiding going outside.

Some respondents mentioned drinking hot water, avoiding cold food items and avoiding meat. One common misconception, the study said, involved meat-eating, with 55% believing they could get infected from consuming chicken, eggs or meat.

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Researchers also interviewed healthcare workers in the four States, who voiced concerns about continued availability of Personal Protective Equipment and suggested hospitals should make contractual staff, who are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 fight, permanent employees.

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Printable version | Jun 19, 2021 10:15:52 PM |

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