The threat to the economy due to COVID-19 is more serious compared to its impact as a health crisis, as per a survey conducted by the Centre for Public Policy Research. Nine out of ten respondents said the COVID-19’s threat to the economy was highly severe.

In this survey, conducted before India’s quarterly GDP was released, eight out of ten respondents believed that the economy would remain affected for more than nine months, while four out of ten respondents believe the economy will remain affected for over 13 months. Additionally, the majority of respondents perceived the pandemic to last at least until mid-next year.

Of those surveyed, one out of four employed experienced a salary cut while about one-sixth of them were from the lowest income group below Rs 25,000. The rest of the income groups comprised a greater percentage of respondents reporting salary cuts. The survey found that, of the 27 respondents who lost their jobs during the lockdown, one-third of them belonged to the lowest income segment.

Per the survey, 94% of unemployed respondents rated the Coronavirus crisis as either a ‘severe’ or a ‘highly severe’ threat, Among respondents who were employed full-time, contractually, or in a freelance capacity, only 91% felt similarly . A part of those surveyed were students, who were concerned about graduating in an environment of economic adversity.

The difference in certain preventive behaviours and ideal attitude between the genders were starker in some other instances. There was a difference of 11 percentage points between men and women with regard to the indicator, “I leave my home to buy essential items only”, and 9 percentage points with regard to the behaviour, “I avoid touching my face with unwashed hands’’.

Women consistently showed better adherence than men to ideal behaviours such as hygiene and safety measures, physical distancing measures, compliance to all guidelines despite relaxation in the lockdown and better knowledge about COVID-19 and official information sources giving correct information about COVID-19.

This finding was also in line with the study done in Hong Kong during the initial stage of the H1N1 pandemic. There it was found that women were more likely than men to practice preventive behaviours and avoid going out in public or to crowded places. A study conducted in the Golestan province of Iran also found similar results.

This news report is on the COVID-19 Impact Survey conducted by CPPR published in the National Herald on September 1, 2020. Click here to read

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