Wed | Sep 30, 2020

Tufton concerned as most J’cans feel not at risk from COVID

Published:Saturday | August 15, 2020 | 12:24 AM

Jamaicans are almost equally divided on whether they believe they are at risk of catching COVID-19, an RJRGLEANER-Don Anderson poll has revealed.

The majority, however, by a margin of two per cent, believe that they are safe from the highly contagious respiratory disease that has killed more than 760,000 people globally and infected 21 million.

The island’s comparably high recovery rate, as well as infections which are lower than the per-capita average of many developed countries, may have contributed to 51 per cent of registered voters believing that they were not at risk. Forty-nine per cent had a contrary opinion.

As at Friday, Jamaica had recorded 14 deaths from 1,082 confirmed cases of the virus. Two hundred and forty-five of those cases are active.

More than half of 1,071 Jamaicans interviewed in the latest RJRGLEANER-Don Anderson poll have indicated they don’t feel at risk of catching COVID-19.

The poll, which surveyed 1,071 respondents between July 24 and Auugust 3, has a margin of error of plus or minus three per cent.

Many of the respondents believe that they will maintain some of the now commonplace COVID-19 prevention measures such as handwashing and the wearing of masks even after the pandemic has passed.

Fifty-one per cent said they would continue washing hands with soap regularly, while 31 per cent said they would maintain social distance. Twenty per cent said they would avoid crowds, 13.4 per cent would wear masks, 11 per cent indicated that they would go home within curfew hours, and 7.1 per cent said they would avoid overseas travellers.

Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton told The Gleaner on Friday night that the responses to the survey was proof that a lot more work was required to have Jamaicans understand the debilitating effects of COVID-19.

“We have work to do. All of Jamaica needs to understand the risks associated with COVID,” Tufton said.

“The Government and its partners have done a lot, but the response must continue.”

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com