“The adverse impact of the pandemic on the economy is widely perceived to be more severe than its impact as a health crisis.”, reveals COVID-19 Impact Survey conducted by the Centre for Public Policy Research, a public policy think tank based in Kochi. While 92% of the respondents believed the economic threat to be ‘Severe’ or ‘Highly severe’ only 64% of the respondents believed that the severity of the pandemic induced health crisis is ‘Severe’ or ‘Highly severe’.

The report explored the micro-level footprint of the pandemic and the lockdown during the transition period post lockdown. It spotlighted COVID-19 related perceptions, precautionary behaviours, and government responses to discern the level of preparedness among the masses and their outlook on the government’s management of the crisis. The study also looked into travel patterns in the pre-lockdown and during the lockdown phase and assessed the change in people’s perception of public transport. 

The survey was conducted among 500 respondents across India from 16th to 30th of June during the period when Unlock Phase 1 was underway.   All the respondents were Indian nationals above 18 years of age who have been residing in India continuously since February 2020. Geographically the respondents were spread over 22 states and 2 Union Territories and 41% of the respondents were from Kerala

Key Findings

Perception about the pandemic

  • Respondents perceive the threat to the economy caused due to the COVID-19 pandemic to be more serious in nature compared to its impact as a health crisis.
  • Nine in ten respondents believe COVID-19’s threat to the economy to be very or highly severe whereas only six in ten respondents perceive COVID-19’s threat as an illness to be very or highly severe.
  • A quarter of the respondents believe that their likelihood of getting exposed to COVID-19 or contracting the disease is an unlikely prospect.

Perception on Government responses to COVID

  • Two-thirds of the respondents believe that the complete nationwide lockdown initiated on 24th March,2020 was justified.
  • Most respondents (about three- fourths) believe that the lockdown was effective in curbing the spread of COVID-19.
  • On average, the respondents are relatively more content with their respective State Governments’ response to the pandemic compared to the Centre’s.
  • Respondents from the State of Kerala are the most content with their Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, among all the major states in our sample.

Precautionary Behaviours

  • Respondents have exhibited high levels of confidence in Doctors, Police, Public Hospitals and NGOs in their ability to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, and have shown low levels of confidence in the government, private hospitals and the media.
  • Respondents have displayed a high degree of compliance to preventive measures and high levels of awareness and knowledge of COVID-19, with an average rating of 4 or higher across all preventive behaviours.

Women

  • Across all self-assessed preventive behaviours, females consistently show a greater degree of adherence in comparison to males.

·         The adverse effects of the lockdown on mental health related indicators are more prominent among females than males, particularly in terms of being worried about their family’s health or going to public places.

·          More females than males are consistently spending more time on unpaid household work and family than males surveyed.

Sources of information

  • Most respondents use traditional or formal sources of information such as TV News Stations, Official website, government press releases, Daily or weekly Newspapers rather than relying on Conversations with family/friends/colleagues, or social media for consuming news related to COVID-19.

Life and Work during Lockdown

·         50% of respondents claim to have lower levels of overall productivity during the lockdown.

·         Exercise and physical activity seems to have taken a backseat as respondents report spending less time than before on exercise.

  • One in four employed respondents have faced salary cuts during the lockdown period.

Shifting Modes of transport

·         COVID & the ensuing lockdown has seen a clear shift to a private mode of transport over public modes.

·         Before COVID-19, six out of ten respondents were using private transport, whereas post lockdown nine out of ten respondents preferred private transport. This implies that the share of public transport users will decrease from four to one (out of ten) post lockdown.

·         Six out of ten respondents are of the opinion that public transport is not safe to travel after lockdown.

·         Two out of ten respondents are planning to buy a new vehicle post lockdown. And 65% of the newly bought vehicles would be cars. Hence, there will be a 13% increase in the number of cars post lockdown.

This news report is on the COVID-19 Impact Survey conducted by CPPR published in the Qrius on September 2, 2020. Click here to read

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