Global consumers still in ‘pandemic mindset’ despite COVID-19 vaccines: survey

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People in the world’s leading economies remain overwhelmingly nervous about returning to life as normal, even after having being vaccinated against COVID-19, a survey released on Thursday found.

A mid-year update of the Edelman Trust Barometer, which for two decades has polled thousands of people on their trust in core institutions, suggested that 65 per cent of people described themselves as being “still in a pandemic mindset”.

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Concretely, that meant that only 16 per cent felt safe flying commercial airlines, 23 per cent staying in hotels and 28 per cent dining indoors in restaurants. In each case, those tallies rose only slightly among those who had been fully vaccinated.

“Vaccines have produced just an average five per cent bump in return-to-life readiness. Nearly 7 in 10 (of all respondents) are concerned a new outbreak is around the corner,” the survey commentary concluded.

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The survey of 16,800 people in 14 territories – Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, Britain and the United States – was conducted between April 30 and May 11.

The findings may raise doubts about the theory of some policy-makers that pent-up demand will power the world’s leading economies to strong recoveries in the months to come.

They also indicate people around the world have little regard for their governments’ handling of the crisis, with the leadership in only four out of the 14 countries – China, Saudi Arabia, UAE and India – getting solid approval.

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In the case of India, whose hospitals are struggling with the world’s highest number of daily coronavirus infections, trust levels stood at a solid 77 per cent, albeit two per centpoints down on the January 2021 reading.

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Other polls have shown Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s approval ratings falling to a new low as the country battles the pandemic.

The Edelman survey also suggested many believe the pandemic will leave longer-lasting societal problems in its wake: 55 per cent said increased mental problems would be one legacy, and a similar number believed another would be the permanent loss of jobs.

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