The latest Gallup survey shows that over 70 percent of the Balkan population believe that COVID-19 virus is not a that big threat as it is presented, adding that is expected in the region used to the crisis, Deutsche Welle (DW) reported on Monday.
The study says that 62 percent of the world population is afraid of the virus, but at the same time, 56 percent think the threat is less dangerous than said to be.
The Gallup President Kanco Stojcev believes the results are not contradictory as they look at first glance. “Virus is real, and it’s normal for people to feel fear,” he told DW.
On the other side, he adds, viruses have always existed, everyone has had it once, and the official reactions can seem exaggerated.
„Especially in the last decades due to progress and modernity, we have a feeling that life becomes more ceratin, that we can predict and plan everything, “ Stojcev said.
That’s why, according to him, politics is currently struggling with people’s emotions while facing uncertainty.
However, 56 percent of people who believe that it’s presented overdramatically should not be taken for granted since the results vary in different countries.
In Italy, where people are dying for weeks, the fear of the virus is higher.
On the other hand, in the Balkans, there is less fear, at least in three countries covered by the study.
In Bosnia and Herzegovina and North Macedonia, even 73 percent of people think the virus is presented as more dangerous than it is; in Bulgaria, 72 percent of the population believe the same.
“The Balkans has been an important hub for centuries. Such places have significantly higher history’s intensity, meaning there have been more crisis that had to be overcome,” Stojcev, a Bulgarian, said.
He adds that “in a way, people are used to such situations,” recalling the events in Romania, Bulgaria or former Yugoslavia some 30 years ago.
On the contrary, 70 percent of the Western Europe population believe that the virus is a severe threat.
The study shows that 76 percent of people are ready to limit their personal freedoms to prevent COVID-19 virus from spreading.
Austria tops the list with 95 percent, followed by North Macedonia with 94 and the Netherlands with 91 percent of those who are ready to sacrifice freedoms.
At the bottom of the list are the US where 45 percent of the population ready to give up freedoms.
Stojcev says there are other findings – two-thirds of people have confidence in their governments, what is a significant rise. The researchers have earlier noticed a global fall in politics, and only between one or two-fifths of the population trusted the authorities then.
The respective politicians, Stojcev adds, easily score in the situations where unity is needed, but also a national policy and isolation from the rest of the world, are required.
„In situations like this, when we face a serious problem, people unite. In the end, it’s easier in a community,” Stojcev said.