Coronavirus Outbreak: Unrealistic optimism might be leading to breaking of curfew, finds study

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Coronavirus in India: As India is placed under a lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19, people from different parts of the country can still be seen breaking the curfew and stepping outside during the global pandemic. While the police and the government have been appealing to people to stay inside, some citizens have still been defying the lockdown rules. To find out the reasoning behind this, HEAL Foundation, an NGO which works with the healthcare sector to spread awareness regarding health issues, conducted an online survey, which studies 366 people, the foundation said in a statement.

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The NGO conducted a survey to understand the level of optimism among the respondents and how the pandemic is affecting it.

Key findings of the survey

The survey found that unrealistic optimism is behind the behaviour of the people. Unrealistic optimism denotes that people are of the view that nothing will happen to them even if the facts of the pandemic state otherwise. In the statement, the NGO found that while 33.4% of the respondents felt that the pandemic would soon subside, 21.5% were of the view that diseases like these kept coming and going.

Moreover, while 26.8% people said they believed in destiny and that whatever has to happen will happen. Over 17% respondents believe that Indians have strong immunity and can fight the disease. Meanwhile, a whopping 45.3% respondents were confident that the government would handle the pandemic and they did not need to worry.

The survey, which also studied the normal levels of optimism among the respondents, found that most of the participants in normal situations only displayed low to moderate levels of optimism, while during the pandemic situation, their levels went to unrealistic optimism. A lot of respondents also stated that they felt that a lot of hype around the pandemic was created by the media and that it would subside soon.

Founder of the HEAL Foundation Dr Swadeep Srivastava said in the statement that the levels of unrealistic optimism might explain the casual approach of the citizens towards the pandemic and their resistance to practicing social distancing. However, he added that this is the exact reason which explains the importance and essence of practicing social distancing, he added.