Filipinos more worried over COVID-19 compared to previous viruses – SWS
Filipinos more worried over COVID-19 compared to previous viruses – SWS
The survey shows Filipinos' concern that family members will be infected with the coronavirus disease is much greater than their past worries over acquiring other diseases like Ebola and SARS

MANILA, Philippines – A majority of Filipinos showed greater worry about being infected with the novel coronavirus compared to previous viruses such as Ebola, swine flu, bird flu, and the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed.

In a special SWS COVID-19 Mobile Phone Survey, the results of which were released on Sunday, May 24, 87% of Filipinos said they are worried that an immediate family member might catch the coronavirus. 

It’s a higher figure than how concerned Filipinos were over acquiring certain diseases in the past years – Ebola at 82% in 2014, swine flu at 82% in 2009, bird flu at 83% in 2006 and 80% in 2004, and SARS at 78% in 2003. COVID-19 is related to SARS in that they are both types of coronavirus.

Only 13% of the survey respondents said they are not worried about catching COVID-19, which has so far infected 13,777 people in the Philippines, with 863 deaths and 3,177 recoveries. 

Concern higher than UK, Australia, US

The survey also showed that the Filipinos’ concern over COVID-19 is also much higher compared to similar surveys conducted in the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States. 

Roy Morgan Research online surveys conducted in March showed 78% of Britons and 75% of Australian said they were afraid that they or their families may be infected with COVID-19. 

An ABC News/Ipsos Poll done in mid-May also showed that 79% of Americans were concerned they or someone they know would get the virus. 

In terms of geographic areas, residents of Metro Manila registered greater worry over COVID-19 at 93%, while 91% from the Visayas said the same. The figures are much lower compared to the level of worry of those in Mindanao at 85% and Balance Luzon at 84%.

Aware of symptoms

Still, awareness of COVID-19 symptoms is high among Filipinos surveyed at areas still under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) at 96% and general community quarantine (GCQ) at 92%. 

The SWS survey also showed almost all of the respondents or 94% said they are aware of the COVID-19 symptoms, with 87% listing fever and 86% counting cough as among the signs of the virus. 

The other most mentioned symptoms include colds at 50%, difficulty breathing at 46%, throat pain at 33%, body pain at 20%, headache  at 15%, diarrhea at 11%, and constant fatigue at 2%.  

Confident that it has slowed down the COVID-19 infection rate, the Philippine government has started easing lockdown measures, with only Cebu City and Mandaue City still under ECQ.

Those under modified ECQ are Bataan, Bulacan, Metro Manila, Laguna, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Zambales, and Angeles City. (READ: Lorenzana: Possible to put Metro Manila under GCQ on June 1) 

The rest of the country is currently under GCQ.

SWS conducted the survey between May 4 to 10 through mobile phone and computer-assisted telephone interviews of 4,010 Filipinos aged 15 years old and above nationwide. –