COVID 19 Poll: India’s Index of Panic

4 min readApr 28, 2020

In an attempt to capture the country’s sentiment on the Coronavirus crisis, Team C-Voter has been conducting a daily tracking poll from March 16th 2020 to April 25th 2020 among 18+ adults statewide, including every major demographic.

The data is weighted to the known demographic profile of every state, including age group, social group, income, region, gender and education levels.

Medical staff wearing protective gear walk in Amritsar. (Source: Getty)

Using the daily #CoronaTracker, Polstrat will update readers on public perception of the virus, issues related to the virus, levels of optimism in the country, as well as levels of panic and preparedness.

Are panic levels in India about the Coronavirus at an all-time high?

In order to gauge the levels of panic in the country, the daily #CoronaTracker asks all respondents if they are afraid they (or someone in their family) will catch the coronavirus. We can see that the Index of Panic (the difference between the number of those who agree and disagree) is high during the time of the Janata Curfew and the beginning of the first lockdown period.

This is perhaps due to the uncertainty about the virus and lack of widespread information about the same. However, the Index of Panic started to go down in the third week as levels of complacency increased, perhaps with people having more access to information.

Additionally, it is also interesting to note the demographic trends of the levels of panic in India. As income levels go down, more people report being panicked that they or someone in their family could be infected with the Coronavirus. Overall levels of panic in India have been relatively low even when compared to other countries such as Italy, Spain, France, Germany as the crisis continues to unfold worldwide.

Index of Preparedness: Changes from March to April

Another important trend to observe is that of preparedness amongst the masses to face the lockdown. In order to estimate the same, the #CoronaTracker asks respondents daily for how many days they have ration or the money to buy ration. In the first week after the nation-wide lockdown, a large number reported they do not have enough to last 3 weeks. However, after the second-week Indian households were better prepared.

The most well-prepared age group throughout the crisis was that of senior citizens (age 60+), with most of them stating they have enough supplies to last them for more than 3 weeks. The index of preparedness shows us that while roughly 60% of India has not hoarded, the number of people hoarding rations to last them for more than 3 weeks is seeing an increasing trend through the lockdown period.

Additionally, throughout the crisis, 10% of Indians reported only have ration/money for ration to last them for a day or two. The lockdown has gravely affected around 40 million daily wage labourers in the country, all of whom usually survive on their daily earnings. Majority of these daily wage earners are also internal migrants in the country, making it difficult for them to avail government assistance, including access to free/subsidized ration.

As the end of the second lockdown is fast approaching (May 3rd), public anticipation about another extension is high while overall levels of panic seem to have stabilized.

A view of the Yamuna Expressway during the ongoing nationwide lockdown. (Source: Reuters)

Team Polstrat will be posting daily updates about the public perception of the virus, including trends in Influenza-Like Illness being reported by respondents (as reported by the WHO and ICMR).

Watch out for this space to read more about the same. We hope everyone is staying safe and getting information about the pandemic from only official and trusted sources such as the World Health Organization and government advisories.

Read the infographic on the opinion poll here in English and Hindi.

By Shreya Maskara/New Delhi

From Polstrat, a non-partisan political consultancy which aims to shift the narrative of political discourse in the country from a problem-centric to a solutions-oriented approach. The survey was carried out by Team CVoter (Center For Voting Opinions and Trends in Election Research), a leading international stakeholder research organization with its roots in India.

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Polstrat is a political consultancy aiming to shift the narrative of political discourse in the country from a problem-centric to a solutions-oriented approach.