Only 11 per cent citizens say there is effective social distancing compliance in their area, while only 29 per cent say mask compliance is effective, as per a survey by Local Circles.
The survey said that the mask-wearing and social distancing compliance is really low in smaller towns and rural areas and enforcement is near zero.
The first wave was predominantly urban and semi-urban centric, and had not impacted rural India except in cases where migrants were going back to their hometown.
A significant risk with the current wave is it reaching smaller towns and rural areas most of which do not have the required health infrastructure to deal with the spike in cases which will mean more suffering and more pressure on the urban health centers, because individuals who can afford will reach to their nearest urban health centres and cities who in turn will have to treat their own population but those from out of the district.
As indicated by the findings of the survey, only 29 per cent and 11 per cent of citizens believe that mask-wearing and social distancing compliance are good in their area, district, or city.
Even at vaccination centers, though 74 per cent of citizens say mask compliance is good, and 44 per cent citizens say social distancing compliance as good. As the vaccination drive is expanding, the compliance to these norms is expected to worsen. With many senior citizens approaching vaccination centers for their second dose in the next 2-4 weeks, it is critical that mask and social distancing norms are enforced by those vaccinating and administering the drive or it will not happen. The last thing we as a nation want is the vaccination centers becoming super spreaders.
The number of positive cases amid the 2nd wave of Covid-19 have been constantly rising in India, crossing the 1,00,000, with Maharashtra taking the lead, followed by Karnataka, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh amongst other states.
The Health Secretary has been reiterating that urgent action must be taken while Niti Aayog member V.K. Paul has described the ongoing situation as going from “bad to worse” as daily cases in the month of March alone reached nearly 9-fold, with a 3-fold rise in daily deaths.
Following suit amid concerns, the Government of Maharashtra has announced night curfew, from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m., along with weekend lockdown starting Friday from 8 p.m. to Monday 7 a.m. It has announced a complete shutdown of gymnasium and indoor sports, religious places, theatre, amusement parks, salons, beauty parlours, as well as political rallies. It has also announced that private offices will have to work from home, while government offices, except health, disaster and medical education departments, will work to 50 per cent capacity.
Citizens on the LocalCircles platform have been regularly reporting about people in their area, district, or city becoming complacent towards following Covid protocols, especially towards social distancing and mask-wearing, and even if people had a mask with them, it rarely covered their mouth and the nose. Also, many reports were received about how rallies and public meetings are being held in poll-bound states, including private and public events, markets that rarely have any social distancing or mask-wearing compliance.
As the daily caseload crossed more than 1 lakh vis-a-vis rise in new variants of SARS-COV-2 amid vaccination to more than 7.5 crore citizens, LocalCircles has conducted another survey to understand how people are following social distancing and mask-wearing norms as cases.
Only 11 per cent citizens feel that there is a good compliance with social distancing norms and wearing mask in their area, district or city.
In the question that tried to understand citizens’ experience and observation if people in their area, district, or city are complying with wearing a mask and following social distancing norms, 23 per cent said “No compliance at all for both social distancing and wearing a mask”, 18 per cent said “No compliance to social distancing but wearing a mask”, 22 per cent said “No compliance to social distancing and limited compliance to wearing a mask”, and 1 per cent said “No compliance to wearing a mask and limited compliance to social distancing”. There were only 23 per cent of citizens who said “limited compliance to both wearing a mask and social distancing”, and just 11 per cent saying “good compliance to both social distancing and wearing a mask”, while 2 per cent couldn’t say.
Only 29 per cent citizens say mask compliance is good in their area, district, or city. Wearing a mask is one of the most important Covid-19 precaution measures. Wearing a mask alone reduces the chances of getting infected drastically as it stops the virus from entering both the mouth and the nose. Citizens from around the world are upgrading their masks and moving to KN95 or N95 masks, and in some cases, people are wearing double basic masks for protection.
Per September 2020 survey by LocalCircles, 67 per cent citizens rated compliance level as good in their area, which then reduced drastically to 30 per cent in February 2021 survey. Various reasons cited by citizens at the time for not wearing masks included discomfort, no or poor enforcement by most local authorities, and declining caseloads in their area.
Even though the caseloads are now steadily rising, only 29 per cent of citizens in the current survey have rated that mask compliance by people is ‘good’ in their area. When the data was analysed based on locations, citizens who said compliance was ‘limited’ in location was 45 per cent, while those who rated it as ‘no compliance’ was 24 per cent. This indicates that the mask compliance has been going down from metros to urban to semi-urban and rural India.
74 per cent citizens feel that there is effective compliance to wearing mask at the vaccination center/location; 44 per cent say compliance to social distancing norms is effective.
44 per cent citizens feel that there is effective compliance to wearing mask when travelling by flights or at airports, trains or at railway stations, bus or at bus stands. Only 15 per cent said compliance to social distancing norms is effective.
With the school session getting over in many parts, people have been travelling in March and have made their summer travel plans as well. To understand what people experienced when they travelled in the last 30 days, the Local Circles survey tried to understand from citizens about mask and social distancing compliance when travelling in flights, trains, buses as well as at airports, train stations and bus stands.
In response, 25 per cent said, “no compliance at all for both social distancing and wearing mask”, 29 per cent said “no compliance to social distancing but wearing mask”, and 15 per cent said “no compliance to social distancing and limited compliance to wearing mask”.
Breaking down the poll, 14 per cent said “limited compliance to both wearing mask and social distancing”, while 15 per cent said “good compliance to both social distancing and wearing mask”, and 2 per cent couldn’t say. The findings of the poll indicated that 44 per cent of citizens feel that there is effective compliance to wearing mask when travelling at airports, railway stations, or bus stands. Only 15 per cent said compliance to social distancing norms is effective.