Public opinion has “swung hugely” towards wanting the government to introduce covid rules and restrictions.
That’s according to the head of the ESRI’s Behavioural Research Unit.
Speaking on RTÉ‘s Brendan O’Connor programme, Professor Pete Lunn said 48% of those asked in a study earlier this week if they would be in favour of more restrictions said yes, while 38% said no, and the rest said they did not know.
The answers were gathered before the Government’s announcement on new measures this week.
The data also suggests that the idea of young people taking more risks than older people “simply isn’t true,” he said.
He said older adults are as socially active as younger people, particularly retired people.
The new data also suggests that people are now most worried about the health service, as well as their family and friends.
Prof Lunn said that throughout the pandemic, every time Covid-19 case numbers went up they could “measure public worry going up with them”.
He said people changed their behaviour as case numbers increased, but that relationship changed as the vaccine programme was rolled out.
“What we’ve found since, therefore, is that the drivers of behaviour are now different,” Mr Lunn said.
He added that their data suggests public opinion has “swung hugely” towards wanting the Government to introduce rules and restrictions.
Meanwhile, the Chief Executive of the HSE said that the whole health service is now surging.
In a social media post, Paul Reid said the service is taking all mitigating actions.
“We value and appreciate everyone’s support,” he added.
Yesterday evening, Prof Sam McConkey said people need to prepare for a number of different eventualities as a degree of uncertainty in modelling means it is difficult to pinpoint exactly how bad the Covid-19 situation will get in the coming weeks.
“Models, at this point, don’t really tell us very clearly how bad it will get in the next sort of two to six weeks,” the Consultant in Infectious Diseases told RTÉ’s Drivetime.
He added: “We really have to prepare both as a nation and as businesses and individuals for a whole range of scenarios and be flexible and ready to adapt to those.”