MANILA - A record-high 91 percent of Filipinos are worried that anyone in their immediate family might catch COVID-19, according to results of a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey released Tuesday.
Of 1,200 adults polled on Sept. 12-16 this year, 76 percent are a "great deal worried" of a possibility of coronavirus infection, while 15 percent are "somewhat worried". The remaining 9 percent are "little or not worried" about contracting the disease, SWS said.
The survey was conducted at a time that the country was experiencing a new surge in infections, with new cases reported on Sept. 16 reaching 21,261, raising the cumulative total at the time to 2,304,192. The Philippines logged its first confirmed case on Jan. 30 last year.
The country's COVID-19 death toll also breached 36,000 on Sept. 16 after 277 newly confirmed fatalities were recorded.
By area, the proportion of those who are worried the most was highest in the Visayas at 95 percent, followed by Mindanao (94 percent), Metro Manila (91 percent), and Balance Luzon (88 percent).
Worry from COVID-19 also rose in all educational levels. Among college graduates, it soared from 79 percent in June 2021 to 95 percent in September 2021. It also climbed among junior high school graduates (88 percent to 90 percent), elementary graduates (89 percent to 91 percent), and non-elementary graduates (85 percent to 87 percent).
'WORST YET TO COME'
Meanwhile, the percentage of Filipinos who fear the "worst is yet to come" due to COVID rose to a record-high of 60 percent in September, from 57 percent last July.
Only 38 percent of polled Filipinos now believe “the worst is behind us." This is the lowest since 35% in July 2020, when it was the early stages of the pandemic, SWS said.
The survey also said Filipinos have always been more worried than Americans about catching COVID-19.
"The Gallup August 16-22, 2021 survey found 40% of adult Americans worrying (7% very worried, 33% somewhat worried) they will get the coronavirus. This was the highest since the 49% in February 2021," the SWS noted.
"When it comes to catching COVID-19, the proportion of worried Americans was always lower than worried Filipinos."
The country's total COVID-19 cases climbed to 2,683,372 on Tuesday, of which 82,228 or 3.1 percent are active, the DOH said in its latest bulletin.
Nearly 40,000 have died while over 2.5 million have recovered from the disease.
The Philippines fell to the bottom of the latest Nikkei Asia COVID recovery and Bloomberg’s COVID resilience rankings.
According to the Nikkei Asia's COVID-19 Recovery Index, the country still has one of the lowest vaccination rates since only 30% of its population have been fully inoculated against the coronavirus as of Sept. 30.
Bloomberg also said the Philippines scored low on all four of its metrics related to reopening, vaccine coverage, and had implemented one of the most stringent lockdowns in the world.
Both the Department of Health and the National Task Force against COVID-19 disputed the rankings, questioning their methodologies and calling the assessment “skewed”.
NTF Chief Implementer and vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez, Jr. said Philippine authorities were able to slow down infections amid the presence of the highly contagious Delta variant.
The government aims to vaccinate some 77 million people to achieve herd immunity and safely reopen the economy.
As of Oct. 11, more than 23.3 million individuals have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to government data.