Governments losing support for their handling of COVID-19: survey

File: Data from many countries and regions show that healthcare workers have been infected at a far higher rate than the general population.

AFP/Valerie Macon

PARIS - Governments are fast losing support for their handling of the coronavirus outbreak from a public that widely believes death and infection figures to be higher than statistics show, a survey of six countries revealed. 

Support for the federal government of the United States, the country with the most reported infections and deaths, dropped by four percentage points from mid-June, with 44 percent of respondents declaring themselves dissatisfied, said a report by the Kekst CNC communications consulting group.

In Britain, just over a third of respondents approved of their government's actions, a three-point decline in one month, according to the report, based on an opinion poll conducted over five days in mid-July. 

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It also included France, Sweden, Japan and Germany.

"In most countries this month, support for national governments is falling," the report said.

People who participated in the survey --  1,000 per country polled -- generally believed the coronavirus to be more widespread, and more deadly, than official figures show.

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"Despite relatively low incidence rates compared to earlier in the pandemic in most countries (with the exception of the US), people significantly overestimate the spread and fatality rate of the disease," Kekst CNC said.

In Sweden and Britain, the public believed that six or seven percent of people have died from the coronavirus, about 100 times the reported rate.

In the United States, respondents estimated that almost a tenth of the population had died of the virus, more than 200 times the real toll, while Germans thought their tally was 300 times higher than what has been reported.

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Such views, said the report, "will be impacting consumer behaviour and wider attitudes -- business leaders and governments will need to be conscious of this as they move to restart economies and transition into living with coronavirus for the medium to longer term."

The poll also revealed that fear of a second outbreak wave is growing, and that an ever larger number of people believe the impacts will last for more than a year.

People "are becoming resigned to living with coronavirus for the forseeable future, and looking to leaders and business to pave the way forward," the report said.

Source
AFP