YouGov’s international COVID-19 tracker reveals changing global attitudes towards the Coronavirus
April 19th, 2020, Zafar Shah

YouGov’s international COVID-19 tracker reveals changing global attitudes towards the Coronavirus

The biggest changes in fear levels this week in YouGov’s 26-market COVID-19 tracker were in Canada and Denmark. Both nations saw a 9-point drop in the number of people saying they are very or fairly scared they will catch the disease, from 69% to 60% in Canada and from 53% to 44% in Denmark.

Figures are largely stable elsewhere. The largest increase in fear levels occurred in Sweden, rising from 47% to 53%.

Most notable behaviour changes

The most dramatic behavioural shift since the previous took place in Singapore, where the proportion of people donning face masks in public skyrocketed from 37% to 73%. The previous week’s 37% had already been an all-time high, with the public of the island nation now in line with the rest of Asia when it comes to covering their faces.

There were also substantial increases in face mask usage in the UAE (up 25pts to 79%), the USA (up 20pts to 49%) and Mexico (up 11pts to 59%).

Several countries say noticeable differences in the numbers of people avoiding going to work compared with last week. There were sizeable increases in Singapore (up 16pts to 47%), the UAE UAE (also up 16pts, to 49%), and Saudi Arabia (up 11pts to 54%). Meanwhile in Finland the proportion of people avoiding the office fell 12pts to 18%.

The other most notable changes took place in Scandinavia. The proportion of Danes not eating raw meat fell 12pts to 7%, while the number avoiding touching public objects like lift buttons fell 12pts to 47%. The number of Norwegians avoiding tourists has fallen 13pts to 37%, and the level refraining from touching objects in public is down 11pts to 63%. The number of Finns improving their personal hygiene also fell 10pts to 72%.

How well have governments been handling the crisis?

Our tracker looking at how countries feel their government is handling the crisis find approval rates lowest in Spain (38%), France (38%) and Japan (39%). It is worth noting, however, that this Japanese figure is up 8pts since last week, whereas the French and Spanish figures have changed less.

These are the only three countries in which the proportion of people who think the government is doing a good job is lower than the number thinking it is doing a bad job, although public opinion in Mexico (48% well, 47% badly) and the USA (49% well, 45% badly) is closely split.

Everywhere else satisfaction far outweighs dissatisfaction. The most impressed are the people of Vietnam (95%) and India (92%), being the most likely to say their government is handling the crisis well.

Outside of Asia, the highest approval rates are in Australia (82%), Denmark (81%) and Norway (also 81%).