SEOUL, March 5 (Korea Bizwire) — With the ensuing coronavirus spread in the country, many citizens feel that the outbreak has put a stop to everyday life.
People now feel particularly angry whenever they receive a new report related to the coronavirus.
A research team from Seoul National University conducted a study of 1,000 citizens across the country between February 25 and 28, 59.8 percent of whom felt that the coronavirus has put a stop to everyday life.
The result was 10 percentage points higher than the previous survey (48 percent) conducted between January 31 and February 4, at the start of the coronavirus outbreak.
The proportion of respondents who think that the coronavirus barely changed their lifestyle dropped from 10.2 percent to 4.2 percent.
In the initial survey, most people felt anxiety when watching a news report on the coronavirus (60.2 percent), followed by fear (16.7 percent), shock (10.9 percent), and anger (6.8 percent).
This time, anger ranked second (21.6 percent) after anxiety (48.8 percent).
In addition, more citizens felt threatened by the coronavirus.
Respondents who thought that the coronavirus is highly infectious increased from 12.7 percent to 19.8 percent, while the share of respondents who thought otherwise shrank from 42.7 percent to 29.2 percent.
“This means that citizens now feel differently about the coronavirus,” said Yoo Myung-soon, a professor at Seoul National University who spearheaded the research.
“Anxiety that comes from an increasing number of deaths, difficulties in acquiring masks, and patients violating quarantine restrictions is combined with distrust. It requires a form of communication that bolsters responsibility.”
Respondents in Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province, the epicenter of the current epidemic, demonstrated particularly high levels of stress compared to other regions.
Roughly two-thirds of respondents in Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province felt ‘deprived’ (58.1 percent national average).
Another 76.3 percent felt injustice and unfairness (67.4 percent national average), while 71.2 percent felt their emotions were hurt, and felt a significant amount of anger (60.5 percent national average).
“Efforts should be made to protect the psychological health of local communities in Daegu,” Yoo said.
While respondents thought positively of the efforts made by medical authorities, the level of trust towards state leadership and the media has dropped.
Approximately half of the respondents said the quarantine agencies were doing a ‘good job,’ up by 8.1 percentage points since the previous survey.
Disinfection efforts were also met by a positive response of 57.9 percent, up by 14.1 percent points since the previous survey.
At 81.1 percent, the vast majority of respondents trusted the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up by 6.5 percentage points since the survey conducted in the first week of February (74.8 percent).
Public opinion towards the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae, however, dropped from 57.6 percent to 49.5 percent, while trust towards the media plunged from 46.4 percent to 39.9 percent.
H. M. Kang (firstname.lastname@example.org)