Majority of Kenyans think ‘threat of coronavirus is exaggerated’ – Survey


Majority of Kenyans think 'threat of coronavirus is exaggerated' - Survey
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe and Chief Administrative Secretary Dr. Mercy Mwangangi. PHOTO| COURTESY

While the government, the media and various stakeholders in Kenya have been at the forefront of sentitizing the public on COVID-19, a new survey shows that majority of Kenyans think the threat of the coronavirus has been exaggerated.

According to the poll conducted by research and consulting firm Infotrak, 52 percent of Kenyans think the risk posed by COVID-19 has been overstated, this being blamed on the existing knowledge gaps on the disease.

“Knowledge gaps still exist on Covid-19. Majority of Kenyans; 52% still think that the threat of Covid-19 is exaggerated,” states the report.

“While Kenyans seem to have high awareness on COVID 19 and how it can be contracted there are several issues that still need education and clarification from government.”

Some of the knowledge gaps cited in the report are that 48 percent of Kenyans think Covid-19 is just like a common Flu/cold whereas 35 percent of Kenyans think its better to take the family upcountry to protect them from Covid 19.

The report further shows that 20 percent of Kenyans still believe that black people/Africans can’t contract the coronavirus while 26 percent think young people and children can’t get coronavirus.

In addition, 30 percent of Kenyans believe that everyone who contracts the coronavirus dies while 25 percent think there is a cure for coronavirus.

The poll was conducted between March 30 and April 2, 2020 with a sample of 831 respondents from 24 out of the 47 counties being interviewed.

It further shows that majority of Kenyans; 68%, want the government to declare a complete lockdown of the country to stem the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) while 32% are opposed to the shutdown.

According to the report, whereas a majority of Kenyans support a lockdown, most of them are not at all prepared for such an eventuality.

The survey indicates: 19 percent of Kenyans are ‘very well prepared’ 28 percent ‘prepared’, 17 percent ‘a little prepared’ and 35 percent ‘not at all prepared” for a lockdown.

It further points out that most Kenyans are also not well informed about the coronavirus with 52 percent of those interviewed thinking that the COVID-19 threat is exaggerated.

“While Kenyans seem to have high awareness on COVID 19 and how it can be contracted there are several issues that still need education and clarification from government,”

The report further shows 55 percent of Kenyans want the government to address the coronavirus pandemic as a matter of priority while 47 percent reckon food security is important and needs to be addressed.

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Story By Benjamin Muriuki
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