Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

14.51 24 Jan 2021


Share this article


There is "no evidence" that people are losing their resolve to adhere to the restrictions imposed due to COVID-19.

That's according to Dr Pete Lunn, head of behavioural research at the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) and adviser to the public health authorities.

Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of the world's first coronavirus lockdown imposed in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

The Taoiseach has said there will be a "conservative approach" to the reopening of society out of level five coronavirus restrictions.

It is expected that the current measures will be extended until at least the end of February.

Speaking to On The Record with Gavan Reilly, Dr Lunn said that people's resolve is not wavering amid the continued lockdowns, rather the opposite is true.

He said: "Since the start of this pandemic, there has been concern among authorities, concern among journalists, that somehow people's willpower and resolve at some point would just ebb away, that they would just stop bothering essentially.

"It's a concern and an insecurity that I think has been argued in public life consistently.

"There is actually not, as of now, any evidence that it's true.

"That doesn't mean it won't come true, but throughout the pandemic so far, there hasn't been any evidence, just some sort of general fatigue that people are getting sick of it and giving up.

"In fact, it's the reverse."

He said the increase in people following the public health guidance since Christmas "has been sharpest among young adults".

'No evidence' that people are losing resolve to comply with restrictions - ESRI

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

    

People are coping better as time goes on, he added, and we have adapted to the circumstances brought about by the restrictions.

We have the resolve to contend with the continued lockdowns because we know we have to, Dr Lunn said.

He explained: "The primary thing that's driving people's behaviour throughout their pandemic is their concern and anxiety, not just for themselves but primarily for the people they love and their relatives, and that's the main driver of people's behaviour and why they're adhering to these restrictions.

"They can see the logic of it, they can see what happens if we don't."

Data gathered by the ESRI since the outset of the pandemic shows that people's anxiety about the virus went up after the Christmas surge in cases to the same levels seen in March and April last year.

"We probably do have quite a bit of anxiety now about all the stories that surround the new variant and we probably don't know what the implication of those new variants are going to be for the long term.

"So I think there is a level of anxiety and that's what's driving people's behaviour and that's why the overwhelming majority are staying at home and doing the right thing.

Dr Lunn added: "I think it is really important to be looking forward, giving people hope and obviously the vaccine gives us that and that's important.

"But there's also positive feedback that we should give, we have started to get on top of this third curve, case numbers are starting to come down again and we've got to keep what we're doing.

"That is happening because of our behaviour."

Main image: People watch the sunrise over Dublin Bay from Dollymount Strand, Dublin yesterday morning. Photo: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

Share this article


Read more about

COVID-19 Restrictions Covid-19 ESRI Level Five Lockdown

Most Popular

Live: Title

Now playing

00:00:00 / 00:00:00
Added to queue
Removed from queue

On Air

Share

Share


Up next

Episode title
Show
Duration

You currently have no podcasts in your queue.

Go to podcasts

On Air

Newstalk Breakfast

Newstalk Breakfast

07:00-09:00

Share

Up next

THE PAT KENNY SHOW

THE PAT KENNY SHOW

09:00-12:00

Share

LUNCHTIME LIVE

LUNCHTIME LIVE

12:00-14:00

Share

MONCRIEFF

MONCRIEFF

14:00-16:00

Share

THE HARD SHOULDER

THE HARD SHOULDER

16:00-19:00

Share

OFF THE BALL

OFF THE BALL

19:00-22:00

Share

SPLANC

SPLANC

22:00-00:00

Share

BEST OF NEWSTALK

BEST OF NEWSTALK

00:00-07:00

Share

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

07:00-08:00

Share

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

Share on