Growing Covid-19 complacency despite resurgence fears, survey shows, Newsline

Cape Town – Premier Alan Winde says the Western Cape government is ‘’on full alert and responding’’ to an increase in Covid-19 infections. However, a survey has shown the fear of the coronavirus is declining in the country amid pandemic fatigue, increasing the risk of a second wave of infections.

Among almost 8 000 respondents, four in 10 adults believe the threat of the virus is exaggerated, according to the latest Covid-19 democracy findings by the Centre for Social Change, University of Johannesburg, in partnership with the Development, Capable and Ethical State of the Human Sciences Research Council.

Amid an alarming resurgence in infections across Europe, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize is worried about what he claims to be a 42% spike in Covid-19 infections in the Western Cape, although Winde said there had only been a 13.65% increase over a seven-day period.

The survey showed frequent feelings of fear remained at a consistently high level from April through July, ranging between 44 % and 47%. However, this fell to 31% during August and early September.

Earlier this week, Mkhize, who is in quarantine at home after testing positive with his wife, urged South Africans to continue adhering to health protocols and to guard against complacency.

’’I want to beg that we do not neglect wearing our masks, social distancing and washing/sanitising our hands,” Mkhize said.

In early April, only 37% wore a mask when they went out, the survey revealed. This rose to just more than 70% in July, August and September.

Among the other 30% of adults, 20% said they wear a mask ”most of the time” and about 7% ”some of the time”. Only 2% revealed they never (or not often) wear a mask and 1% did not want to say.

The findings showed that 65% of adults believed President Cyril Ramaphosa was doing a good job in his handling of the pandemic, but this has declined by 20 percentage points from the first survey done during the level 5 lockdown.