How are people living with COVID-19?
10 min read.
The Core Research COVID-19 tracker has been understanding and predicting public sentiment since the outbreak of the pandemic. The following report is based on the tenth wave of research with 1,000 adults. This analysis focuses on people’s reaction to the Government’s Plan for Living with COVID-19.
As the incidence of COVID-19 cases have increased over the past few weeks, our tracker highlights the cautious sentiment of the public. As counties Dublin and Donegal enter Level 3, and public health authorities monitor a number of other counties, this report reveals people in Ireland are concerned, but believe the measures in place are necessary to take control of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Uncertainty, but hope prevails.
Uncertainty remains significant amongst the public about the future direction of COVID-19, with one in three people (35%) saying they are uncertain about whether Ireland can overcome the virus. While there are more people (40%) who are optimistic that we can overcome, this hopeful group is in decline since June.
The level of uncertainty paired with the increase in cases is influencing the sustained high level of concern, with 56% saying they are very concerned or extremely concerned up significantly from 39% in June but not as high as 68% in mid-April.
“my county level is appropriate.”
22% believe their county should go to a higher level.
The research fieldwork was conducted the weekend of Friday 25th September and therefore Dublin and Donegal were on Level 3, while the rest of the country was on Level 2. Across the population, 67% of adults believe their county is on the appropriate restriction level. In Dublin, 61% of people believe the county is on the appropriate level.
A further 25% of Dubliners would like the county to be on a higher level. A decision on restrictions for Louth, Cork, Wicklow and Galway is expected this week, and 24% of the people living in these counties believe they should already be on a higher level.
“Not travelling beyond
my own county”
Young Adults more impacted by
closure of social spaces (e.g. restaurants)
The Level 3 restriction of not being able to travel beyond your county would impact the most people (67% of population). The majority of Young Adults (under 40) say they would be or are impacted by the closure of restaurants.
The majority of those aged over 40 are more likely to say home visits have the greatest impact on their life. This would suggest that young adults have been meeting in controlled environments such as restaurants and pubs, and families and older adults have been having people visit their homes – both of which are now having to be more controlled and managed.
As regards Level 4 restrictions, over 60% of the population believe the absolute closure of shops and no home visits would impact them, and the impact increases for those aged over 65, as they are reminded about ‘cocooning’ during the first wave.
Significant decline in Public Solidarity
Only 44% believe people are handling the situation well.
23% of the population are uncertain if other people are doing their best to control COVID-19 (i.e. adhere to current guidelines), but 33% of people disapprove of other people’s behaviour. Young women (under 40) are more likely to disapprove of the behaviours of other citizens. This group is concerned and worries about the activities and gatherings they see and hear about on the street or on social media. This group is more likely to support NPHET – which has seen their approval increase to 69% of the population, compared to 54% of the people approving of the Government’s handling.
The smaller proportion of the group that does not approve of NPHET’s handling (15%) tend to be young men who are unable to work from home, or who have lost work because of the pandemic restrictions. When Ireland re-opened in June, social cohesion was at a high – 76% of people believed the population were handling the situation well. There is now a fragmentation of how people are impacted, and it will be necessary that organisations and authorities respond to this.
Companies can do better.
Only 38% of people believe companies are helping.
At the start of the pandemic, 65% of people believed companies were handling the situation well, supporting those who needed help in the initial wave of COVID-19. There were plenty of examples of companies contributing to support frontline workers, citizens and their own customers, however this good-will has declined.
There is now an opportunity, as we live with COVID-19 to build in empathic marketing plans to support people with the uncertainty we currently live with. The Core Emotional tracker shows that happiness remains to be the number one emotion experienced on a daily basis, but stress and worry are growing in influence in people’s everyday lives.