New Delhi: More than 51 per cent respondents in rural India perceive the COVID-9 pandemic as a "conspiracy by China".
On being asked how the respondent perceived COVID-19 pandemic, more than 51 per cent said it was a "conspiracy by China".
Through the rapid survey, Gaon Connection tried to find out how rural Indians perceived COVID-19, how they were protecting themselves against the disease, awareness about the disease.
On being asked how the respondent perceived COVID-19 pandemic, more than 51 per cent said it was a "conspiracy by China". Twenty-two per cent said it was the failure of citizens to observe precautions, whereas about 18 per cent saw it as the government failure. In high prevalence states, more proportion of respondents (23%) saw it as governance failure than medium (14.5%) and low prevalence states (16.9%).
Further, the respondents were asked if they thought the novel coronavirus was still around. Around one-fifth of the respondents said they did not think the coronavirus was still around. Around 15 per cent said they did not know if the virus was still around whereas 1.3 per cent perceived the virus to be a hoax.
To further get perceptions of rural India towards the COVID-19, the respondents were asked if they thought COVID was a real disease or a rumour. Sixty four per cent of respondents said they thought COVID-19 was a real disease. This opinion was stronger in high prevalence states (74.8%) than other medium or low prevalence states. Also 18.9 per cent respondents perceived COVID-19 as a fatal disease which was more in low prevalence states (29.5%) than other categories of states.
About 8.9 per cent respondents thought coronavirus disease was a rumour and 11 per cent respondents thought it was an exaggerated problem. Another 8.5 per cent thought it was a minor cold, cough and flu only.
Upon asking if people around them wore a face mask while stepping out of their homes, almost 58 per cent said they did so. A higher proportion of respondents in high prevalence states reported that people around them wore a face mask normally all the time when they stepped out in public places than other types of states.
When coronavirus struck India, there was a fear that the virus can be spread through poultry because of which several people stopped consuming eggs and chicken. Poultry business was badly affected.
Meanwhile, to boost their immunity, people started to consume home-made concocons, packaged immunity boosting products, etc. On being asked if the respondent household was spending more money now on buying and consuming packaged immunity boosting products, such as Chyawanprash, giloy, kadah, vitamin tablets, etc, more than half of respondents in high and medium prevalence states reported that they were spending more money now on buying and consuming such packaged immunity boosting products.
On being asked what kind of changes in the eating habits had taken place due to corona, almost 70 per cent respondents said they had stopped eating outside food. Over 33 per cent said they had started eang more vegetables, whereas 30 per cent said they were eating more fruits.
Of those respondent households who said they consumed non-vegetarian food, they were asked if their non-veg eating had changed in the corona period. Almost 40 per cent households reported that their consumption of non-veg food items had reduced with maximum proportion of reduction had occurred in high prevalence states (47.9%) followed by medium (40.9%) and low prevalence states (31.3%). Meanwhile, almost nine per cent households reported that during COVID-19 period they were not eating non-veg items any more.