COVID worry doubles

COVID worry doubles

Thursday, August 27, 2020

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PUBLIC concern about COVID-19 has doubled in just over five weeks, the latest survey by pollster Bill Johnson has found.

The poll, conducted August 21-23, found that 50 per cent of respondents identified the novel coronavirus as the most pressing problem facing Jamaica at this time. That represents a 24-percentage point increase on those who gave the same answer in Johnson’s poll conducted July 9-12, and a 15-point increase on the finding in an earlier survey conducted March 12-15 but which was not published due to the COVID-19 outbreak in the island.

The three surveys were commissioned by the Jamaica Observer. The March and July polls, which had a sampling error of 2.5 per cent each, were conducted among 1,200 voting-age Jamaicans. The August poll has a sampling error of three per cent and was conducted among 1,000 Jamaicans islandwide.

“Concerns about the coronavirus spiked significantly from our previous surveys. Fifty per cent of those interviewed now cite coronavirus as one of the most pressing problems in Jamaica, up from 35 per cent in March and 26 per cent in July, while worries about jobs and unemployment continue to be cited by slightly more than one half of our survey respondents,” Johnson said yesterday in his analysis of the findings.

The veteran pollster also noted that the increased COVID-19 concern had an effect — albeit minuscule — on the perception voters held about the direction in which the country was headed.

“Perceptions that Jamaica is going in the right direction these days slipped by three points from our July survey, from 42 per cent to 39 per cent, while those thinking the country is going in the wrong direction increased marginally from 34 per cent to 36 per cent,” Johnson pointed out.

On August 21 when Johnson’s team went into the field, the Ministry of Health and Wellness had reported that the COVID-19-related death toll moved to 19 after the passing of a 69-year-old female from Manchester.

The ministry also said that the country had recorded 56 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in the preceding 24 hours, bringing the total cases on record for the island to 1,346. Of that number, 788 patients had recovered.

On the last day of the survey, August 23, the ministry reported that the island had seen 116 new COVID-19 cases in the preceding 24 hours, sending the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to 1,529.

The ministry also said that two more patients had recovered and released from care, bringing the total recoveries to 819, meaning that there were 710 positive cases at the time.

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