System1 Coronavirus Tracker: 8th April

As the Coronavirus pandemic continues, we’re running a 14-country tracker to capture people’s emotional and behavioural response to the crisis around the world.

For the very latest results, sign up for our webinar every Wednesday.

Here are the key findings from last week’s tracker:


Europe suffers as lockdown continues

The “epicentre” of the Coronavirus pandemic may now be shifting to the USA, but it’s hard-hit European countries where the mood remains lowest. Only 6% of Italians and 12% of French are feeling Happiness. Both countries are seeing their infection curve begin to flatten, though the death toll remains high – one of the big future questions is whether moods will improve as the peak passes, or whether the economic and personal cost will mean positive Feeling remains low.


UK mood stabilises, US improves

In the US and UK meanwhile, which saw big emotional dips as stay-in-place and lockdown rules came in, we’re seeing some signs of people getting used to the situation. In the UK, Fear has dropped and Neutrality is up. In the US, the public mood is bouncing back from its low last week, with Happiness back up to a healthy 28%. Media attention shifting from the death toll to relief efforts may be one cause.


Behaviours have changed dramatically

The media in both the US and UK have paid a lot of attention to people flouting the lockdown rules – whether by partying, gathering in parks, or continuing with unnecessary travel. But what our tracker reveals is the huge level of compliance with the new rules. In the UK, most of the high-risk behaviours, like socialising with friends, are down to under 10%. In the US, there is one big red flag – 26% are still socialising. But mostly people are obeying the rules, staying home and watching a whole lot of TV.


Worries over the health systems remain

As the Thursday night applause every week shows, the British love the NHS. But that doesn’t mean they have complete faith in it. In fact only 32% of UK people think their healthcare system will cope either very or quite well with the Coronavirus crisis. That’s basically unchanged since the first week of the crisis. But in the US, belief in the system is taking a hit – two weeks ago 44% of Americans thought their healthcare system could cope very or quite well with COVID-19. That’s dropped 10 points, to 34%.


Attitudes to panic are shifting

One area we have seen big attitudinal shifts in the US and UK is in the question of whether people are panicking too much about Coronavirus. Two weeks ago there was broad agreement in both markets that people were, in fact, getting too panicked. But now the proportion of people who strongly or slightly agree with that statement is dropping fast – down from 76% to 50% in the US and 74% to 55% in the UK. That’s still a plurality of people who think their peers are stressing out too much – but opinion is moving fast.


Americans to government: do more!

Another area we’ve seen US opinion shifting is in attitudes to the government’s response. Two weeks ago there was a broad split, with 32% of Americans thinking the government was doing too much, and 28% thinking it was doing too little. Those numbers have changed. Now only 17% say it’s doing too much, and 44% say too little. The proportion who say it’s getting the response right – 39% – is now one of the lowest in the world: only Saudi Arabia and Japan are less impressed with how their leaders are tackling things.

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