Finding The Human Truths In The War Against Coronavirus

Second wave of global study from McCann Worldgroup reveals worry is increasing while faith that governments are prepared to deal with the pandemic is dropping precipitously.

More than two thirds (67%) of people globally say that they are worried about the COVID-19 outbreak, up from just over half two weeks ago (53%), according to “Truth About Culture and Covid-19 Wave 2”—the second study by McCann Worldgroup’s global intelligence unit – McCann Worldgroup Truth Central. The report identifies how key global and generational attitudes regarding the COVID-19 pandemic have shifted in just a couple of weeks.

Reality Dawns

While last week 36% of people globally said that if they caught Coronavirus they thought they’d be ok, this week just 24% say the same.

As the reality sets in, people are also less likely to believe ‘the media is creating unnecessary hysteria’; now just under 1/3 of people agree with this statement compared to 42% two weeks ago.

Levels of worry continue to be strongly correlated with the current stage of each market’s pandemic journey.Italy, Spain and France – three markets that are beginning to see the rate of new cases and deaths flatten – remain highly worried but are leveling off whereas the UK is now in full panic mode. Americans are a bit of an anomaly in this regard – while increasingly worried, many appear to be in denial: just 33% of Americans agree that the government should initiate a full lockdown (compared to 58% of people in the UK).

“Trust in brands over government for information is double what it was a two weeks ago in some markets, providing a unique and pivotal moment for brands to elevate their standing with consumers,” said Chairman and CEO, McCann Worldgroup, Harris Diamond. “It’s important for companies to continue to communicate while being careful to strike the right tone of being compassionate allies rather than opportunistic marketers. As we advise our clients to prepare for the post-isolation world, it’s crucial to heed important lessons from this crisis in order to maintain a meaningful role in consumers’ lives.”

Economy vs. Humanity: Not Everyone is Worried About the Same Thing

While levels of worry are increasing in most places, countries are divided in terms of worrying about the economic impact of the pandemic vs. the human impact. When asked about their concerns about the COVID-19 outbreak aside from potential illness, the #1 concern globally is that lots of people will die.This is #1 in the following markets: UK, Spain, Chile, Turkey, France and Argentina. In contrast, some markets are more focused on the economic impact with “that our economy will suffer” being #1: US, Canada, Mexico, Germany, Italy, Colombia, India and Japan.

Confidence in Government Decreases as Worry Increases

Confidence in government preparedness is waning. Just under one-third of people globally believe that their country is prepared to deal with the Coronavirus outbreak. In markets like Italy, Spain and France which are farther along the curve than some other markets we’ve surveyed, confidence is plummeting.

  1. Italy: 42% W1 -> 36% W2
  2. Spain: 37% W1 -> 25% W2
  3. France: 31% W1 -> 18% W2

In Germany, however, which has maintained the lowest fatality rate in Europe thus far, confidence is actually up to 33% from 25% just last week.

Social Distancing in Full Swing

While adoption of many preventative measures like hand washing and stocking up on toilet paper remain flat, people around the world have fully embraced social distancing in the last week. The increase is particularly marked in UK, where 84% are now saying they’re staying away from public places (vs. just 32% 2 weeks ago) and in Chile (up from 28% to 78%). As more people grasp the scale of the pandemic, 3 in 10 people globally agree that carrying on as normal is immoral.

The World Will Be Forever Changed

Half of people globally (and the majority of most markets surveyed) believe that the world will be forever changed by the Coronavirus pandemic, but not all of the long-term changes will be negative.While there is widespread acknowledgement of the grim of the pandemic, many people are finding positive ways to use their time, including reconnecting with their families and communities:

  • 1 in 3 people already globally feel closer to their loved ones
  • 1 in 3 people globally agree that people are looking out for each other more now
  • 6 in 10 people globally say that we will consider what really matters in life
  • 17% have taken up a new hobby
  • 18% of people say that people will focus on their faith
  • 46% of people believe that carbon emissions will go down

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