Despite COVID surge, only 6% surveyed are currently complying effectively to masking norms; Of those compliant, wearing mask in crowded outdoor spaces is the most common precaution
- ● 45% of those compliant indicated “wearing a mask when in crowded outdoor spaces”
- ● 15% of those compliant have been “wearing a mask when in indoor spaces with people who are outside immediate family”
- ● 35% of those compliant shared that they are “avoiding going to crowded outdoor spaces like weddings, sports events, markets, others"
- ● 20% of those compliant shared that they are “avoiding going to crowded outdoor spaces (malls, restaurants, trains, buses, etc.)"
- ● Survey points to poor understanding of people that masking indoors is not critical where the risk of spread is highest
April 8, 2023, New Delhi: Are we in the middle of another COVID wave? The concerns are real as over 6,000 cases have been reported in the last 24 hours and this is a 400% increase in the last 2 weeks. What is worrying is that many districts of India including those in and around the national capital region, have a test positivity rate above 20% indicating that 1 in 5 is likely carrying the COVID infection. With little or no testing in most parts of the country and 3 in 4 Indians refraining from testing per the last LocalCircles survey, Indians are clearly taking this new wave casually.
To understand how Indians are complying to COVID norms and where all are they complying, LocalCircles conducted another survey which received over 21,000 responses from citizens located in 321 districts of India. 66% respondents were men while 34% respondents were women. 44% respondents were from tier 1, 31% from tier 2 and 25% respondents were from tier 3 & 4 districts.
Only 6% of those surveyed are “effectively complying” to masking norms while 90% stated they are non-compliant or only somewhat compliant
The survey first asked respondents “Are you and people in your area/district/ city effectively complying to masking norms?” Of the 9656 people who responded to this query, only 6% indicated that they are “effectively complying” to masking norms while 90% stated “somewhat or not compliant” and 4% gave no clear response. In effect, only a small percentage of people surveyed are taking the possible threat of another wave of COVID or its variants seriously despite the spurt in the number of positive cases in the last few weeks. India currently does not have a mask mandate at a national level and a large majority of the states do not have it either.
The next question in the survey asked respondents, “What all are you doing diligently right now to avoid a COVID infection as cases surge again?” Some among the 12,144 who responded to this query indicated more than one option. The largest segment of 45% indicated “wearing a mask when in crowded outdoor spaces”; 35% shared that they are “avoiding going to crowded outdoor spaces like weddings, sports events, others; 20% shared that they are “avoiding going to crowded indoor spaces (malls, restaurants, trains, buses, etc.) with lots of people; 15% have been “wearing a mask when in indoor spaces with people who are outside immediate family while another 20% are doing other things to avoid getting the infection. The findings of this poll indicate poor understanding of people about the importance of masking in indoor spaces where the risk of spread is the highest.
In summary, the survey finds that while COVID cases are surging in India once again, a large majority of people are not taking it seriously as the disease symptoms for most are similar to flu or viral. As a result, majority are not getting tested and a large majority aren’t even wearing a mask regularly. Only 6% confirmed that they and people in their area were effectively masking. When these 6% were asked about their compliance, 45% of them said they were masking when in crowded outdoor spaces while only 15% confirmed they were masking when with other people (outside family) in indoor spaces. When it came to avoiding crowded spaces altogether, 35% said they were avoiding crowded outdoor spaces like sporting events, weddings, markets, etc. while only 20% said they were avoiding crowded indoor public spaces like malls, restaurants, trains, buses etc.
The need of the hour here is to create awareness about the fact that COVID is not flu and the disease is known to cause health complications in many especially senior citizens, those with co-morbidities and the immunocompromised and the lack of compliance to COVID norms by the majority can cause such implications for some in their own families and friends.
The survey received over 21,000 responses from citizens located in 321 districts of India. 66% respondents were men while 34% respondents were women. 44% respondents were from tier 1, 31% from tier 2 and 25% respondents were from tier 3 & 4 districts. The survey was conducted via LocalCircles platform and all participants were validated citizens who had to be registered with LocalCircles to participate in this survey.