Nine in 10 Filipinos worry about catching COVID-19, a fear that has exceeded those stirred by SARS, Ebola and Bird Flu, survey results released Thursday showed.
Some 89% of Filipino adults are worried that anyone in their immediate family might catch the virus that has claimed 21,000 lives in the country, according to a April 28 to May 2 Social Weather Stations poll.
Of those who expressed worry about catching COVID-19, 70% are worried by "a great deal" while 19% are "somewhat worried," SWS said.
In terms of geographical location, worry about catching COVID-19 is highest in Visayas at 92%, followed by Mindanao (90%), Balance Luzon (88%), and Metro Manila (85%).
"Compared to past SWS surveys, worry about catching COVID-19 is much greater than worries about catching previous viruses such as Ebola, Swine Flu, Bird Flu, and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)," the pollster said.
It was in March this year when the Philippines started to fight a renewed surge in COVID-19 infections which prompted the revival of strict lockdowns in Metro Manila and neighboring provinces.
Daily COVID-19 cases rose as high as 15,000, overwhelming the country's healthcare system.
Worst is yet to come?
There is also a worsening outlook on the COVID-19 crisis among Filipinos, with those fearing that "the worst is yet to come" with the pandemic rising to 49% in May 2021 from 31% in November 2020.
Those who think that "the worst is behind us" dropped to 50% in May 2021 from 69% in November 2020, SWS said.
SWS said the percentage of those fearing “the worst is yet to come” with the COVID-19 crisis was highest in Balance Luzon (54%), followed by Metro Manila (50%), Visayas (49%), and Mindanao (38%).
Those saying “the worst is behind us” are highest in Mindanao at 62%, followed by the Visayas (51%), Metro Manila (49%), and Balance Luzon (45%).
It was only in mid-May that the government started to ease COVID-19 restrictions in the capital region and nearby provinces. Authorities have said that COVID-19 vaccination efforts are expected to get a boost this June with the expected bulk delivery of jabs.
Some 1,200 Filipinos aged 18 and above participated in the survey which has a ±3% margin of error for national percentages.