Lockdown pain worth Covid-19 gain say big majority in new pandemic polls

Level 5 lockdown

Public give opinions on lockdown measures

Nearly eight out of ten people believe that the pain of lockdown is worth the gain of suppressing Covid-19 virus, according to the latest research on compliance with Level 5 restrictons.

Professor Pete Lunn, Head of the Behavioural Research Unit, Economic Social Research Institute (ESRI) analysed data and outlined the findings from the latest opinion polls in National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) daily statement on March 1.

“Data from the Public Opinion Tracking Survey Research (Amárach/Department of Health) and from the new Social Activity Measure (ESRI/Department of the Taoiseach), give insight into how people are coping with the prolonged period of restrictions.

"The evidence shows that while people are finding it tough going, the large majority (79%) believe that preventing the spread of Covid-19 is more important than the burden of restrictions. Just 10% disagree.

“This pattern helps to explain how measures of compliance have been rising in recent weeks and months, despite the frustrations that people feel.

“Just because we feel a particular way, does not mean that this feeling dictates our behaviour. Rather, the large majority of people in Ireland support the restrictions and are sticking to them, despite the frustrations," he said.

Prof Lunn also commented on a false belief among some people that other people are breaking restriction by meeting up with others.

“The data also show systematic misperceptions about social activity. Presently, half the adult population does not meet up with anyone outside their household over a 48-hour period, with less than one quarter meeting up with three or more. Yet these more socially active people believe that they are meeting fewer people than average.

“There is a clear misperception. Most people believe that others are enjoying more of a social life than they are. Those who are in fact most socially active do not realise this. The finding is important, and we need to try to correct this misperception. When people appreciate effort being made by others, they typically become more likely to follow,” he said.

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