A new survey carried out by Alicante data engineer Nuria Oliver has found that people have relaxed ‘personal’ protection measures such as wearing masks and avoiding giving hugs.
Just a year ago, 91% of citizens in the Valencian Community claimed to wear a mask to stop COVID infections, 88% opted for hand disinfection, 84% avoided crowds, 78% refused to give kisses and hugs, 77% limited their number of contacts, 74% tried to maintain social distancing and 52% made an effort to have good internal ventilation. Now, twelve months after the run up to 2020’s Christmas celebrations, the situation has changed dramatically, according to the latest instalment of the survey carried out by the Data Science for Covid-19 working group of the Generalitat Valenciana, headed by the Alicante engineer Nuria Oliver.
The latest study, published this week, warns of a drop in the use of protective measures against covid. Currently, mask use has dropped to 76% (from 91% a year ago). People who claim to try to avoid crowds have also been reduced to 68% (compared to 84% in December 2020) and citizens who continue to disinfect their hands with hydroalcoholic gels to 67% in order to reduce infections (twenty percent less than a year ago).
In terms of reducing social contacts, the figure now stands at 52% (down from 77%) and those who consciously keep a physical distance when in the company of others is down to 51% from 74%.
48% of people surveyed said they continue to avoid giving hugs or two kisses to stop the spread of covid (down from 78% last year). The number of people who worry about keeping interior rooms ventilated has also fallen, dropping from 52% to 39% in just one year.
What hasn’t changed is the gender divide when it comes to taking precautions against the spread of covid. Women continue to be the most compliant according to the survey. In the use of masks and limitation of social contact, the difference between men and women is 15 percent (82% of women and 67% of men). There is even more difference in hand disinfection (16 percent). Slightly less difference exists in other measures such as avoiding crowds and not giving hands or hugs to reduce infections (thirteen percent) or maintaining good interior ventilation (ten percent). As for those willing to be vaccinated against covid, there are also more women (90%), compared to men (82%), according to the latest update of the study.
The population of the Valencian Community is divided into those who consider that the current mandatory measures against covid are “sufficient” and those who demand stricter measures, given the increase in positive cases in recent weeks. The Valencian Government survey found that 36% want more measures and 36% consider current measures enough. Just 10% consider the current measures to be “excessive”.
In terms of the psychological impact of the pandemic, the situation seems to be improving. The survey found that 36% of people admit to be concerned about their overuse of technology (a figure which is significantly higher among the younger population, at 62%).
30% say they suffer from anxiety (especially among those of middle age), 27% stress (with a higher incidence among those under 29 years of age) and 22% sadness. 13% admit to suffering from loneliness.