COVID and Omicron – what’s the mood?

Photo by Anna Shvets on

Yesterday I ran one of my little surveys via twitter. Remember, these are not intended to give is a scientific analysis of the exact proportions of people that hold specific positions. Rather, they operate like a kind of focus group or dip check.

That’s not a high number of votes and I expect proportions would change in different contexts but what it shows is that there are people attempting to continue as planned whilst a small number were making changes. I also expect that to change quite rapidly as the case numbers feed in. There has, a bit like last Christmas been a bit of the “grief process” kicking in with denial followed by negotiation mingled with a bit of blame and anger directed at Tory party goers from last Christmas.

I went on to ask about other modifications to behaviour that people might be making

Again, whilst a significant proportion of my followers don’t intend to change much, others are adapting on a voluntary basis. The significant change appears to be people reducing social contacts in line with the Chief Medical Officer’s advice to prioritise contacts.

I think it’s telling that the majority of those who answered weren’t more anxious about risk of severe illness and death either to themselves or their loved ones. This may reflect the current uncertainty and speculation that Omicron is either intrinsically milder or will be experienced as such due to the impact of vaccine boosters.

There was however a fairly even split between those who expected further measures being required.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that they think the measures will be required because of health risks. It could be that the political climate drives us towards further restrictions. The view seems to be that whether we want it or not and whether we need it or not, tighten restrictions are coming.

I also asked the question “Do you think that churches should consider suspending in person meetings to protect against high hospitalisation rates.

As you can see, the majority of those participating, both Christian and non Christian were of the view that churches should continue with in person services. However, there were a good few Christians of the view that we should at least consider the possibility that in person services need to be suspended.

At the time of writing I would suggest that there are a lot of people who remain reasonably confident that we can get through this wave with fairly normal behaviours. That may make attempts to introduce further compulsory measures challenging. At the same time I detect growing levels of anxiety too.

Things could change rapidly over the weekend. If we see an aggressive increase in hospitalisations here and evidence that cases are likely to ramp up still further then this will heighten concern further. However, if we begin to see evidence that vaccines are doing their job and for example clear signs that South Africa has managed to pass through the crisis ahead of us then I suspect those anxiety levels will subside.

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