MANILA— Most Filipinos believe that the worst of the COVID-19 crisis is over, according to a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey released Thursday.
Some 69 percent of adult Filipinos said "the worst is behind us," the November poll found— a 22-percent increase from a similar survey conducted in September.
Fears that the "worst is yet to come" also dropped to 31 percent from the 47 percent it recorded in the last survey, the pollster said.
SWS conducted the survey on people’s outlook on the health crisis, from Nov. 21 to 25 using face-to-face interviews of 1,500 adult Filipinos.
Notably, it was held before a post-holiday surge in COVID-19 cases and the confirmation of cases of the more transmissible UK variant in the country.
The respondents were asked, "Which of the following best describes your feelings about the COVID-19 crisis in the Philippines? Do you think… the worst is behind us or the worst is yet to come?"
Across the country, the percentage of respondents saying “the worst is behind us” in the COVID-19 crisis was highest in Metro Manila at 78 percent. It was followed by Balance Luzon at 69 percent, the Visayas at 67 percent and Mindanao at 65 percent.
The capital region, the Philippines' epicenter of the health crisis, has recorded over 225,000 coronavirus infections, accounting for nearly half of the country's total tally.
QUALITY OF LIFE
The same poll also showed that 62 percent of respondents said their quality of life had worsened— a sector SWS tagged as "losers." Fourteen percent said their lives got better— the "gainers"- while 24 percent said it stayed the same.
Meanwhile, in terms of outlook, 44 percent said their quality of life would improve— those termed by SWS as "optimists." Those who said it would worsen, the "pessimists," was at 9 percent. The remaining 36 percent said it would stay the same.
In comparison to other nationalities, SWS said that Filipinos were more optimistic than Americans and Canadians.
When it comes to the COVID-19 crisis, only 33 percent of Americans and 19 percent of Canadians said “the worst is behind us,” compared to 69 percent of Filipinos who have the same view.
The SWS looked into the Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll in the US and Abacus Data in Canada.
Devastated by COVID-19, the Philippines' gross domestic product contracted anew in the fourth quarter, shrinking 8.3 percent to bring the full year 2020 growth to -9.5 percent. It is worse than the 7 percent contraction recorded in 1984, making it the steepest post-war slump in Philippine history.
To combat COVID-19, the Philippine government has amassed a total of US$13.34 billion or approximately P640.96 billion in loans, Department of Finance data as of Dec. 15, 2020 showed.
On top of this, the government is also seeking to borrow P62.5 billion for vaccine procurement from multilateral financing institutions including the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), and the World Bank.
The Philippines aims to vaccinate up to 70 million people against COVID-19 this year to achieve herd immunity.
It is working to lock in 148 million doses from various drug makers, on top of 5.6 million shots that will come from the COVAX Facility, a global initiative that aims to ensure equitable access to the vaccines.