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Concerns and Compliance

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Survey respondents were asked to rate, on a scale from 0 (‘Not at all’) to 10 (‘Entirely’), the extent they were following the government’s current advice and guidelines regarding COVID-19. Responses were grouped as Low (0-5), Medium (6-8) or High (9-10).

In November 2020, when the country was living under Level 5 restrictions, almost two-thirds (65.2%) of respondents rated their compliance with current government advice and guidelines as High, compared with three-quarters (75.4%) respondents rating their compliance as High in August. Respondents reporting High compliance was lowest in June (59.9%) when the country was just about to enter Phase 3 of the Roadmap for reopening society and highest in April (80.6%) approximately a month after initial COVID-19 restrictions were implemented.  See Table 3.1 and Figure 3.1.

X-axis labelHigh Compliance
April80.6
June59.9
August75.4
November65.2

Despite a reduction for both sexes in High compliance rates when compared with those in April and August, female respondents continue to be more likely to report their compliance as High with 68.2% of females rating their compliance as High in November compared with 62.2% of males.

Analysis of compliance by age shows that the High compliance rate decreased across all age groups between August and November.  High compliance rates for each age group were all lower than those reported in April, when restrictions were first implemented, but higher than those in June, except for respondents aged 18-34. In November 2020, respondents in the 18-34 age group were least likely to rate their compliance as High (56.6%) while those aged 70 years and over were mostly likely (79.0%).  See Figure 3.2.

X-axis labelAprilJuneAugustNovember
18-3475.158.465.553.8
35-4479.953.673.971.1
45-547851.572.470.1
55-6989.568.484.677.7
70 and over8371.488.369.3
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In November 2020, 27.8% of respondents reported being Very or Extremely concerned about their own health. This is higher than the rates reported in April (25.8%) and August (21.3%).  In November, there was little difference in the proportions of males and females that were Very or Extremely concerned about their own health (28.1% and 27.5% respectively).  See Table 3.2.

Concern for one’s own health increased with age in November.  Nearly one in four (24.6%) respondents aged 18-34 said they were Very or Extremely concerned about their own health with this rising to 44.0% of those aged 70+.  The proportion of younger respondents that were Very or Extremely concerned about their health in November is twice the rate in June (12.1%) and also higher than that in April (16.0%). The proportion of those aged 70+ that were Very or Extremely concerned about their health is also higher than it was in both April and June (42.5% and 29.6% respectively).  See Figure 3.3.

X-axis labelVery/ExtremelySomewhatNot at all
November29.758.711.6
June29.654.216.2
April42.551.85.7

Nearly one in two (46.0%) respondents that rated their health status as fair/bad/very bad reported that they were Very or Extremely concerned about their own health in November.  This rate is higher than that reported in April (44.1%) and in June (43.0%).  In November 13.8% of respondents that rated their health status as very good said that they were Very or Extremely concerned about their own health.

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More than half (56.2%) of respondents reported being Very or Extremely concerned about somebody else’s health in November 2020. This is an increase on the June figure of 51.3% but still lower than the April figure of 63.4%.  See Table 3.3 and Figure 3.4.

X-axis labelVery/Extremely
April63.4
June51.3
November51.8

Male respondents were less likely to report being Very or Extremely concerned about somebody else’s health (52.8%) than female respondents (59.7%).

Analysis by age shows that respondents aged 18-34 were most likely to report being Extremely concerned about somebody else’s health at 26.8%.  See Table 2.4.

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In November, two in five (40.3%) respondents reported that they were Very or Extremely concerned about maintaining social ties, an increase on April’s figure when less than a third (32.4%) of respondents felt this way.  See Table 3.4.

Female respondents (41.9%) were more likely to be Very or Extremely concerned about maintaining social ties than male respondents (38.6%).  The increase in this level of concern for both sexes since April were similar, increasing by 8.2 and 7.5 percentage points respectively.  See Figure 3.5.

X-axis labelMaleFemale
April31.133.7
November38.641.9

Analysis by age shows that concern for maintaining social ties increased across all age groups between April and November, except for those aged 70 years and over. The proportion of respondents in this age group that were Very or Extremely concerned about maintaining social ties fell from 46.3% in April to 38.1% in November.

Respondents living in households with children were more concerned about maintaining social ties compared with those living in households without children. Nearly 42% of those living in households with children were Very or Extremely concerned about maintaining social ties, compared with 37.4% of those living alone and 39.8% of those living in households consisting of two or more adults only.

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Respondents were more concerned about other people’s ability to comply with government advice and guidelines in November than in June.  In November, three in five (60.0%) respondents said they were Very or Extremely concerned about other people’s ability to comply compared with 47.7% in June.  See Table 3.5.

Analysis by gender showed little difference in concern levels between male and female respondents in November.  However, the increase in likelihood of being Very or Extremely concerned for other’s ability to comply was greater for male respondents than female respondents, increasing from 43.2% in June to 59.9% in November for males versus 52.0% to 60.1% for females over the same period.

Nearly two in three (65.9%) respondents that rated their health status as fair/bad/very bad were Very or Extremely concerned about other people’s ability to comply in November.  This is an increase since June when 50.8% of this cohort felt this way.  See Figure 3.6.

X-axis labelAprilNovember
Fair/Bad/Very bad50.865.9
Good5060
Very good44.754.9
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Respondents were asked whether they thought the Level 5 response to managing the current COVID-19 related risk was Appropriate, Too extreme or Not sufficient.  Over 71% said that it was Appropriate, 18.3% felt it was Too extreme with 10.2% believing it not to be sufficient.  See Table 3.6.

Analysis by age shows that the likelihood of a respondent feeling that the Level 5 response was Appropriate increased with age, with 63.2% of respondents aged 18-34 agreeing that the Level 5 response was Appropriate rising to 88.2% for those aged 70 years and over.  Conversely, the likelihood of a respondent feeling that the Level 5 was Too extreme decreased with age, falling from 23.1% for those aged 18-34 to 5.2% for those aged 70 years and over.  Respondents aged 18-34 were most likely to think that the Level 5 response was Not sufficient while those aged 70 years and over were least likely to agree with this sentiment (13.7% and 6.6% respectively).  See Figure 3.7.

X-axis labelNot sufficientToo extremeAppropriate
18-349.62565.4
35-447.121.871.1
45-545.923.570.6
55-696.61281.4
70 and over6.56.587

Nearly one in four (24.2%) respondents living in households with children felt that the Level 5 response was Too extreme. One in six (16.9%) respondents living alone and one in seven (14.0%) respondents living in household consisting of two or more adults and no children felt this way.

Over a fifth (22.2%) of respondents in urban areas thought that Level 5 restrictions were Too extreme compared with a tenth (10.9%) of those living in rural areas.  More than three quarters (77.6%) of those living in rural areas felt the measures were Appropriate compared over two thirds (68.3%) of those in urban areas. Nearly 10% of those living in urban areas and 11.5% of those living in rural areas felt Level 5 response was Not sufficient.

As levels of concern for one’s own health and for other’s health increases, the sentiment towards appropriateness or not being sufficient increases, and the belief that the Level 5 response is Too extreme decreases.

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Respondents were asked on a scale of 0 to 10 where 0 is ‘no chance’ and 10 is a ‘100% chance’, what they think their chance of getting infected with COVID-19 within the next three months. Responses were grouped as Low (0-5), Medium (6-8), or High (9-10). Respondents were also asked, if there were to become infected did they think they were get a Mild illness, a Moderate illness, a More severe illness or a Critical illness. These questions had previously been asked as part of the April survey.

In November, 84.0% of respondents believed they had a Low chance of getting infected with COVID-19 over the next three months with 11.6% thinking they had a Medium chance of getting infected and 4.5% had a High chance of this. This shows that, overall, respondents believed they were less likely to contract COVID-19 in November than in April, when 76.3% thought they had a Low chance, 18.4% a Medium chance and 5.3% a High chance of getting infected with COVID-19 over the next 3 months. See Table 3.7 and Figure 3.8.

X-axis labelAprilNovember
Low 76.384
Medium 18.411.6
High5.34.5

Older respondents thought they were less likely to get infected than younger respondents. For example, nearly 91% of those aged 70 years and over believed they have a Low chance of getting infected compared with 78.4% of those aged 18-34. Conversely, younger respondents thought they were most like to get infected with 7.4% believing they had a High chance of getting infected over the next 3 months. This rate, however, is lower than that reported in April when one in ten (10.6%) respondents in this age group graded their likelihood of infection as High.

Those living alone were most likely to believe their chance of infection was Low (92.4%).  The comparable rate for respondents living in households with children was 82.1% and 83.1% for those living in households consisting of two or more adults only.

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Comparing results from the November and April Social Impact of Covid-19 Surveys, older respondents in November were less likely to think that, if infected with COVID-19, they would have a Critical illness.  In November, 22.5% of respondents aged 70 years and over felt that if they were to get infected they would have a Critical illness compared with 35.5% in April.  Analysis by age shows that the percentage of younger respondents aged 18-34 believing they would suffer a Mild illness decreased from four in ten (40.5%) in April to one in three (33.2%) in November.  See Table 3.8 and Figure 3.9.

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X-axis labelAprilNovember
Mild illness1.32.7
Moderate illness23.719.1
More severe illness39.555.6
Critical illness35.522.5
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Show Table: Table 3.1 Personal compliance with current government's advice and guidelines by demographic and household characteristics, April, June, August, November 2020

Show Table: Table 3.2 Concern about own health by demographic, household and other characteristics, April, June and November 2020

Show Table: Table 3.3 Concern about someone else's health by demographic, household and other characteristics, April, June and November 2020

Show Table: Table 3.4 Concern about maintaining social ties by demographic and household characteristics, April and November 2020

Show Table: Table 3.5 Concern about other people's ability to comply with current government's advice and guidelines by demographic, household and other characteristics, April, June, August, November 2020

Show Table: Table 3.6 Appropriateness of government's response to Level 5 restrictions by demographic, household and other characteristics, November 2020

Show Table: Table 3.7 Perceived chance of infection by demographic and household characteristics, April and November 2020

Show Table: Table 3.8 Perceived impact of infection by demographic and household characteristics, April and November 2020

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