South Africans can be divided into two broad groups: those that are largely adhering to Covid-19 preventative measures, and those that show only limited adherence to the recommended guidelines. It is this latter group that should be of concern as they are potentially super-spreaders of Covid-19.
According to Ask Afrika’s Covid-19 Tracker study, about 65% of South Africans can be relied on. They wear masks, social distance and regularly wash their hands.
The rest, however, demonstrate limited adherence. This group is least likely to social distance and isolate after testing positive for Covid-19 – potentially becoming super spreaders of the virus.
The limited adherence group is less likely to have had a personal experience with Covid-19. They are also unlikely to know someone who has contracted the virus, been hospitalised as a result of contracting the illness, or who has passed away due to Covid-19. This is one of the reasons that they have such a blasé attitude.
Where do they live?
Research also found this group is significantly more likely to live in the Northern Cape, Mpumalanga and North West, and less likely to live in suburban or metropolitan areas. They are also typically aged 19 to 24.
Despite the fact that this group is less emotionally involved, they are more likely to turn to less constructive coping mechanisms.
This includes denial, substance abuse or blaming others in the absence of a support structure outside their family.
A concerning trend as we head into winter is declining preventative behaviours such as covering sneezes, avoiding touching one’s face or surfaces, and taking vitamins and supplements.
Despite similar levels of concern around the safety of the vaccine between the two groups, the limited adherence group is less likely to want to receive the vaccine. They are also less likely to trust health experts, the World Health Organisation, and doctors or nurses for vaccine related advice.