COVID 19 has taken its toll -- not just in terms of sickness and death, but in terms of public optimism. Susan Delacourt writes:
New polling by Abacus research shows that COVID-19 anxiety has skyrocketed in the past few days, fuelled merely by the emergence of Omicron. “Four in 10 adults say they are becoming more worried about the pandemic over the past few days, almost doubling (20-point increase) the response to the same question a month ago,” Abacus reported on Tuesday.
The anxiety has landed with accompanying gloom about the future. A full 28 per cent of Canadians now believe the worst of COVID-19 is still to come; roughly the same (26 per cent) reported to Abacus that they thought the worst of the pandemic was over. “This is more pessimism about the future of the pandemic than since May 2021,” the polling report states.
EKOS polling is unearthing the same disturbing trends. EKOS president Frank Graves posted some of his research this week on Twitter, showing that COVID-19’s toll is depression, loneliness and lack of optimism over the long haul.
Managing public perceptions is what politics is all about. And politicians are in a bind:
David Coletto, head of Abacus research, says this newest wave of pandemic-related anxiety means that politicians just have to double down on transparency. “Leaders need to demonstrate they are monitoring the situation and have a plan that will be executed when certain things happen. Being perceived to be in control is critical,” Coletto said.
“The public has been on a roller-coaster. Every time their hope for an end to the pandemic grows, something else happens that increases anxiety and uncertainty. Being clear on what the government is doing and will do if certain thresholds are met can help.”
Our current crop of leaders doesn't run up the score on the subject of transparency. We'll see how it goes.
Image: Sky News