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The Opinion across the Globe is Equally Divided on Whether Life Will Return to Normal in 2021 or Not

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Despite almost six months of intense media scrutiny, fears of the coronavirus infection remain high; people across the globe are largely still supportive to their governments but not at the levels registered at the beginning of the crisis; while opinion is equally divided on whether life will return to normal in 2021.

According to a Gallup International Poll conducted in the third wave of global polling in June 2020, despite almost six months of intense media scrutiny, fears of the coronavirus infection remain high; people across the globe are largely still supportive to their governments but not at the levels registered at the beginning of the crisis; while opinion is equally divided on whether life will return to normal in 2021.

Global Results: The fear of coronavirus infection remains high in the world, but some symptoms of decrease are to be found. Despite the US, UK and Italy having 40% of all deaths worldwide, the curve in each country is now under control and lockdowns being lifted. Yet the shock remains high – 71%, 70% and 79% respectively in each country agreeing that they are afraid that either they or someone in their families may actually catch COVID 19. Across all 18 countries surveyed 66% fear catching it, 30% are not afraid. 

Two countries where the curve does not appear to have flattened are Philippines and India – and it is these two countries that show the highest level of fear – 79% and 84% respectively ‘strongly agreeing’ that they are afraid of a family member catching it.

There is however a slightly softer view when respondents were asked whether the threat from the virus was ‘exaggerated’. While 54% feel that it is not, 40% feel that it is exaggerated. Perceptions of an exaggeration are highest in Bosnia and Herzegovina (66%), Kazakhstan (61%), Bulgaria (59%) and Moldova (58%). But perhaps there is a lesson here to be learnt from recent history? Just 15% of those in Republic of South Korea (recently experiencing the SARS pandemic) believe the Coronavirus threat is exaggerated.

Support for Government handling of the crisis remains high – 61% approve, 34% disapprove. Yet there are some significant shifts in opinion since Wave 1.

In countries such as Republic of South Korea and Malaysia, support for government action on the coronavirus handling seems to be growing. In Kazakhstan and Bulgaria, the values reached between March and April remain broadly the same today.

Meanwhile Japan (34%), Bosnia and Herzegovina (35%) and the UK (38%) show significantly lower levels of Government approval. And how about President Trump? 40% continue to approve, 55% disapprove.

Cleary Government approval is impacted in part by a perception on whether the virus is under control. Opinion globally here is split – 44% say it is now under control, 49% that it is not. But the scale of opinion for a global pandemic is striking – ranging from 15% of those in Japan thinking it is under control to 95% in Georgia.

One issue where majorities in most countries surveyed agree on is the financial impact.  In 14 of the 18 countries polled, a majority say their household income has decreased. Families in the Philippines (88%) and Pakistan (88%) are hardest hit.     

But how about prospects for the future? There is no clear expectation on the prospect of life returning to normal. 42% believe that by the end of the year things will return to normal, while 47%  disagree. Those in Kazakhstan (65%), Georgia (63%), Bulgaria (61%), Malaysia (60%) and Pakistan (59%) are the more optimistic while three of the G7 members in Japan (11%), USA (28%) and UK (20%) are the most concerned

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