Mangaluru: We are two-thirds of our way into our first compulsory lockdown in the country to tackle the spread of COVID 19 Virus. We can’t wish it away, and the best practice right now, the world over is lockdowns, personal hygiene and use of Personal protective equipment.
It is in force in Karnataka too and Newskarnataka.com, as always, concerned with the wellbeing of its readers, and citizens in general, undertook a survey through the social media to find out what residents of Karnataka think of the lockdown and how they are dealing with it.
The survey was open for 48 hours and it received 168 responses. No demographic data was recorded for privacy reasons. The 168 responses received can be extrapolated with some degree of certainty to the entire middle-class population –those that own a mobile smartphone, and are comfortable in the language of the survey. It does not cover the thoughts or circumstances of those with no access to mobiles or not comfortable with the language in which it was circulated – English.
The results were, in many ways an eye-opener. Here they are:
1. Almost all of the respondents (nearly 97%) were concerned about the health effects of the COVID 19 Virus on themselves personally. 75.6% were very concerned and 20.8% concerned. Only 3.5% were not concerned.
2. The findings of this question when read with the findings of Question 6 - How often are you seeking updates and information on the virus and its spread? of the survey show a clear co-relation.
|Every 4 hours||42.77%|
|Every 12 hours||26.51%|
|Every 24 hours||27.11%|
Nearly 69% percent of the respondents checked for COVID 19 updates every 12 hours or less. Another 27% checked for updates every day! This is a reflection of the anxiety with which residents are viewing this pandemic.
3. And where did they get their information? The answers are interesting because they reflect the day and age we live in.
The clear favorites were official government or health organizations websites, TV, Digital media – all scoring above 50%, followed by WhatsApp at 32%. Newspapers came in a distant fourth at 30%.
4. Worry is significant, especially in regard to the impact of the pandemic on financial security. The responses speak for themselves.
The response to the question was very similar to the response to the question on the health effect of COVID 19. 70.3% expressed serious concern, while 21.8% expressed moderate concern; that’s a total of 92% who were concerned about the impact of the pandemic on their finances. Only 7.8% said that they were not concerned about the impact.
5. Has anxiety about the morrow led to panic buying during this lockdown? The jury is out on this one, with 51% saying they have not and 49% saying they have. Of this 14 % indulged in overstocking.
6. To the question “What have you been doing during this lockdown?” we got some very interesting answers. A lot of people have been combining working from home with working at home (doing household chores) and sharpening their culinary skills or developing them. That’s a great positive. They have also used the peace and quiet to cultivate their reading habits and watching movies. Very few have however indulged in self-development.
7. Man, and that’s a gender-neutral, is a social animal, and compulsory condiment, solitary or otherwise plays on the mind. Just how much we didn’t know until the results of the survey were in. Although 63% said that it would have no impact on their mental health, 23%, a significant number said that it will lead to mild depression, while another 10% said it would lead to moderate depression. Combined that is around 33% of the respondents. Only 1% expected severe depression as an outcome of the lockdown.
To find out if there were other physical or mental impacts envisaged, we included an open-ended question, “What other impact do you think it will have on you?” and the answers were interesting. While the majority were negative, there was also positive. They have been summarized as follows:
|Emotion Category||Triggering factor||Emotion Category||Triggering factor|
|Negative||Boredom||Positive||Better Perspectives; enjoying the solitude|
|Inertia / Laziness - Lack of Exercise - Weight Gain||The chance for self-Improvement|
|Alcohol withdrawal||Improved Awareness|
|Worry - How will I deal with getting back to work?||Increased value for Relationships|
|Worry - about the health of near and dear ones and financial issues||Mindfulness - more focus on what one is doing|
|Worry - As to how will it all end? What’s the future|
8. Almost all the respondents agreed that a partial lockdown as in force at the moment is the best way forward to prevent the spread. 63% agreed fully, while 31% agreed partially with the concept. Only around 6% disagreed.
Most of the respondents, in their open-ended responses to the question – what’s the alternative to lockdowns, said there was no other alternative. Most wanted stricter lockdowns. One has even suggested deployment of the Army to ensure it. Respondents also suggested strict enforcement of the use of PPE - masks and gloves with the government providing the same to all citizens, and social distancing. But there was also a lot of emphasis on increased testing and isolation of the infected. Awareness, Education and clear communication of strategy both long and short term, including what can and cannot be done during lockdowns and when was a plea made by many respondents in their open-ended response to this question. This they said, would avoid panic buying and anxiety. A few respondents suggested increased spending on Health Care in the long term and the provision of high-quality protective gear and facilities for the health care workers in the short term - till the crisis passes. Interestingly one respondent commented, "This too shall pass".
And it will. Go Corona. Corona Go!
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