Australians have a newfound trust in the government and the media as they digest information about the Covid-19 pandemic.
They believe that they have been given information and as a result have made major changes in personal behavior over the past two weeks.
These and other findings from the Essential Research survey was released Tuesday is an encouraging indication. Australians absorb the advice and act on it.
The survey found 78% of voters had increased hand washing, 82% added limits to social involvement and spending, while kisses, handshakes and hugs had been abandoned by 78%.
Men are less likely than women to increase these basic precautions. Only 73% of men increased the size of cleanliness compared to 83% of women. About 75% of men stop hugging and shaking hands, compared to 82% of women.
The proportion of voters who trusted the government to give honest and objective advice rose from 56% on March 22 to 63% last Monday.
Trust in the media to provide honest and objective information about Covid-19 jumped from 35% to 51% over the same two-week period.
Younger voters aged 18-34 – who are most vulnerable to the corona virus – are more likely to be critical of responses to others. Essential research found 28% believed that the response was an overreaction.
Only 11% of the voters most at risk of infection, those aged 55 years and over, think there has been an overreaction; 47% in this cohort considered the response to be correct, and 42% thought the threat was underestimated.
The threat of the virus remains strong with 41% of all voters afraid they are very likely or somewhat likely to be victims.
Surprisingly, the most fatalistic age group is 18-34, of which 49% say they are very or somewhat likely to catch Covid-19. That compared with those aged 55 years and over, who were medically most likely to be hit, of whom 34% said they were likely to be victims.
About 70% of voters believe that they have been given information about the situation and its impact on families, according to Essential Research. This compared to 63% just a week before.
And as a sign of trust, around 52% of voters believe their finances will not be affected by the effects of coronavirus, or that their savings will get them through it.
But the dominant view, from 51%, is that the economy will be in trouble for six to 12 months, and grow slowly after that.
Households with dependent children are more worried about their financial future, with 36% worried they will struggle with short-term income loss, and a further 19% expect to suffer serious financial pressures.
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