Coronavirus anxiety declining amid some signs of fatigue with government

Coronavirus anxiety declining amid some signs of fatigue with government

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For the second week in a row anxiety about coronavirus appears to be dropping, as efforts to address hotspots in Victoria and NSW appear to be turning the tide of Australia’s second wave. However, there are some signs that Australians’ satisfaction with governments is slipping, amid indications of virus fatigue and accusations over responsibility for aged care and quarantine hotel cases.

Our 24th weekly tracker of 1,224 people, conducted Monday 17 August – Wednesday 19 August, shows:

  • Unprompted concern about coronavirus has fallen five points since last week, with 60% of survey participants saying it is the top issue facing Australia. When prompted, 80% were “extremely” or “quite concerned” compared to 83% last week and 86% two weeks ago. And just 50% now say the virus spread will get worse in a month, down some 23 points from 73% two weeks ago.
  • At the same time, economic pessimism is easing – 81% were “extremely” or “quite” concerned about the economy, down three points from 84% last week. Predictions about the economy have also improved with just 65% saying it will get worse in a month (down from 78% two weeks ago).
  • Meanwhile, Government ratings declined markedly across key measures, with fewer Australians rating Government’s overall performance as “good” or “excellent” (down 5 points to 55%), agreeing Government is taking appropriate measures to protect people’s health (also down 5 points to 72%) or agreeing Government is taking appropriate measures to support people who lose their job or face financial difficulties (down 7 points to 70%).
Corona concerns down across the board

There were declines in concern with a range of specific coronavirus-related aspects, including falls in the proportion of people who are “extremely” or “quite concerned” about the overall economic impact of coronavirus (80% down from 84% last week), workplace closures (64% down from 69%) and violent or inconsiderate behaviour (57% down from 65%). Mask wearing has plateaued at 47% of Australians wearing one in the past seven days, while the number of people prepared to wear a mask when social distancing is difficult dropped 5 points to 69%.

NSW cautious about easing restrictions

The proportion of Australians who say restrictions are being lifted at the right pace is up slightly again this week (56% compared with 46% two weeks ago) and the proportion who say they’re being lifted too quickly continues to drop (29% compared with 39% two weeks ago). However, NSW residents are significantly more likely to say that restrictions are being lifted too quickly (38%).

Healthcare and aged care down again

The perceived performance of the aged care sector in responding to coronavirus has also dipped to just 21% this week down from 28% last week. It remains the poorest performing sector and the third highest prompted concern amongst Australians (with 73% concerned about the quality of aged care). While most Australians (68%) continue to believe the health care sector is doing a “good” or “excellent” job in responding to coronavirus, this result was a 6 point decline from 74% last week.

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