Select Page

Only 14% of people globally believe that their government is ‘very prepared’ to deal with the coronavirus outbreak. In Japan this is just 5%, in the UK it is just 6% and in America it’s fewer than 1 in 10 (11%) according to “Human Truths in a Time of Coronavirus: Part 1”. The new study, released today by McCann Worldgroup’s global intelligence unit – McCann Worldgroup Truth Central - explores global and generational attitudes regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Just 31% of people globally say their country is prepared to deal with the coronavirus outbreak. People in India (55%) and Turkey (51%) are most likely to say their country is prepared.

This data indicates a crisis of faith in institutions and political leadership across the globe with 61% globally agree that “I am responsible for my own safety” vs. 39% who believe “institutions must keep us safe.”

“While every crisis is different, there tends to be a logical sequence in human response – denial comes first, then panic, adaptation and, finally renewal,” said chairman and CEO, McCann Worldgroup, Harris Diamond. “The business world can play a pivotal role in providing value and even comfort in each of these stages by understanding the specific sentiments this unprecedented pandemic has generated and responding to the unique needs of consumers during this uncertain time. Armed with cultural context and information, brands can build meaningful connections with consumers now that will continue long after the crisis."

Harjot Singh, chief strategy officer, Europe & UK, McCann Worldgroup, said, “Even though this is a pandemic affecting everyone across the world – we are very sensitive to the fact that people across our region are at different stages of experiencing this - in varying ways and to varying degrees of intensity. The implications are therefore just as nuanced for brands across the region too.

“We have designed and deployed this study so that the data that emerges from it enables us to better understand the complexity as it relates to the human condition at the heart of experiencing this pandemic. It is meant to place our clients in a position of strength to act with the degree of agility, precision, speed and authenticity that is needed at time such as these.”

Citizens stepping up

In an attempt to protect themselves and people around them, people are taking a range of precautions in response to virus fears. 76% of people globally say they’re washing their hands regularly and using hand sanitizer, 59% of people globally are staying away from public places, 32% of people globally say they’ve tried to boost their immune system and 30% of people globally are calling family members to inform and update them. 

At the same time, despite their growing fears and anxiety, many are trying to find the silver lining and remain positive. More than 90% of people can see some positives associated with the pandemic; 54% believe we will all have a chance to reflect on what really matters in life, 39% are looking forward to spending more time with family, 37% are celebrating the reduction in carbon emissions, 17% are enjoying all of the new Coronavirus memes, 14% are focusing on their faith (rising to 1 in 3 in America) and 12% are pleased to get time off of work. 

Economic fears top fears about loss of life

However, despite this positivity, there is still much anxiety. The top concerns globally are:

  • 48% believe the economy will suffer
  • 43% worry lots of people will die
  • 32% are concerned that the “vulnerable” will be isolated
  • 21% worry that they will lose their job or struggle financially
  • 28% worry that they will run out of supplies,
  • 14% have concern that people will become more racist.

People in the United States (56%), Canada (54%), and Japan (54%) are most worried that the economy will suffer. Those in Argentina (53%) and the UK (52%) are most concerned that lots of people will die.

Japanese (35%) and Canadian (29%) citizens are most worried they will lose their jobs and 47% of people in Japan are worried that they will run out of necessary supplies. Fewer than 1 in 5 globally (18%) globally believe their employer is acting in their best interest

Young people overall are more worried that they will lose their job or struggle financially compared to older people:

  • Young people are also more worried that levels of racism will increase as a result of the pandemic. In the United States, 22% of people aged 18-24 are worried people will become more racist, compared to 10% of people aged 45-54. In Spain, 17% of people aged 18-24 are worried people will become more racist, compared to 9% of people aged 45-54. 
  • In the United States, 39% of young people (25-34) have reported concern about losing their job or struggling financially compared to 12% of older people (45-54).
  • In India, 23% of young people (25-34) are worried about losing their job or struggling financially compare to 16% of older people (45-54). 

The pandemic journey

Interestingly, the attitudes of each country are strongly correlated with the current phase of the pandemic that they are navigating. Collectively, 1 out 3 people globally (36%) believe that ‘if they catch coronavirus, they’ll be ok.’

The least likely to agree with this statement are those in countries where the virus has been active the longest—Japan (13%) and Italy (19%); while the majority of people in the United States (58%), Canada (54%), and the U.K. (47%) are likely to think they’ll be ok if they catch coronavirus.