Survey in Der Yid Daily: Are you afraid of omicron?

Survey in Der Yid Daily: Are you afraid of omicron?

I’ve written recently on how hard it is to get data on the Hasidic community, especially Williamsburg. Numerous factors  present problems with reading city data, and I suggested we try to find ways to look at information gathered from within the community, however imperfect that may be.

Der Yid Daily ran a week-long survey on the week of 12/5/21 asking its readers: Are you worried about the omicron Covid strain?

This is the survey text:


The Omicron Covid Variant

Everyone is following the daily headlines in the news about the “omicron” Covid variant that emerged: a completely new strain of the virus that greatly worries scientists and health officials, who say that it has potential to spread faster than the original Covid virus or the delta strain.

Global financial markets were shaken by the news of omicron, fearing that this will lead to a new big wave of cases and hospitalization, which will then lead to lockdowns and stop the progress that had been made in the last months in climbing out of the corona-plague-induced recession.

Many questions about omicron remain; whether it indeed spreads so easily, if it is more dangerous or less dangerous than the other variants, if the vaccines we have protect the person from omicron, and if natural immunity from the virus confers immunity from omicron.

And so, honorable readers, we ask you:

Are you worried about the omicron Covid strain?

  • Yes
  • No
  • No, because I’m vaccinated 
  • No, because I had Covid

As you can see, the official narrative in the Yiddish papers carefully avoids editorializing on anything Covid related, and it simply repeats the main story as it’s reported in the secular mainstream.

The results were published Sunday 12/12/21  without any comments:


Are you worried about the omicron Covid strain?

  • Yes = 11.8%
  • No = 63.13%
  • Not worried because I’m vaccinated = 8.6%
  • Not worried because I had Covid = 16.47%

I have no idea how big the sample is and how reliable the numbers are — Der Yid claims its daily is seen by over 15,000 readers. But it is noteworthy that only 11.8% expressed worry. From walking the streets, I have not felt palpable fear since the fall of 2020. No one jumps out of the way, no masks, no sanitizer, very dense street traffic, people are not even worried about us snitching.

Meanwhile, to put this in context, an axios/ipsos poll asked similar questions of Americans:

Nearly everyone polled (94%) had heard of the omicron variant — though 47% know nothing about it — and of those aware of the variant, 71% are at least somewhat concerned and 37% are very or extremely concerned, according to the poll, conducted December 3-6 among 1,021 U.S. adults.

This reveals a striking disparity in reported levels of fear among the Hasidic population versus the American public at large. When we ask why compliance rates are lower among Hasidim, this factor — the prevalence of fear — must be taken into account.


Related:

How badly hit were Hasidim by the first wave of Covid?

Year in Review: Hasidim had similar Covid outcomes despite opening

#2 of podcast: why Hasidim don’t do lockdown or masks

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