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Even COVID-19 Doesn’t Dampen Spirit of Optimistic Greeks

ATHENS – ATHENS – More than eight in 10 Greeks are optimistic about the prospects of moving past the current pandemic and feel the right steps are being taken, according to a survey by Metron Analysis carried out for the DiaNEOsis think-tank.

According to the nationwide survey, titled “How Greeks Live During the Pandemic," 85.7 percent of Greeks feel that things are moving in the right direction, a trend that has only been recorded twice before – once in the February 2015, after a new leftist government came to power on a promise to roll back austerity, and in the fall of 2019 when the outlook for economic growth was good.

The optimism is shared by most Greeks irrespective of age, professional status, educational level, income, geographical location and political affiliation and a rise in 14 percent in those trusting Premier Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

Those were among the findings of the survey by Metron Analysis carried out for the DiaNEOsis think-tank, which has been conducted only twice before, once in February 2015, a month after the Radical Left SYRIZA came to power.

The other was in the autumn of 2019 when Greece, under New Democracy, was accelerating a slow recovery from a near decade-long economic and austerity crisis before that was braked by the COVID-19 Coronavirus.

It wasn’t explained why they felt so optimistic with the world still in the grip of COVID-19 and the economy in free fall again, likely to bring soaring joblessness, but Greeks across the board were upbeat the future, no matter their age, professional status, educational level, income, geographical location or political affiliation after a previous survey showed 75 percent of SYRIZA voters supported their ideological rival New Democracy.

The survey was especially good news for Mitsotakis, whose stock rose 14 percent, with a 2 percent bump for new President Katerina Sakellerapoulou, 13 percent for trust in the government, which has a 65 percent approval rating.

The welfare state support shot up 16 percent while the media gained big too – 13 percent for TV stations, 8 percent for radio and 5 percent for newspapers reporting on the pandemic with people glued to every word, although most people preferred online news.

The European Union, which doddled for weeks while the pandemic raged and held back critical aid while talks kept being pushed back, fell sharply in support, down to 27.3 percent compared to 42.1 percent two years earlier.

With a lockdown requiring people to stay home except for permissible missions such as going to supermarkets, banks, pharmacies, hospitals, doctors, essential businesses remaining open or to walk pets or take exercise, 10.9 percent said they were alone.

That rose to 19.3 percent for the elderly and on a scale of 1 to 10 measuring anxiety, the barometer was little more than halfway, with an average of 5.5, showing people trying to ride out the crisis and lockdown as best they could.

For six out of 10 (62 percent) the stress was due to fears about health risks faced by loved ones – grandparents haven’t been able to be near their adult children or their grandchildren, while 23.7 percent saying they feared for their own health.

One in five (21.3 percent) said they believed they had been infected at some point by the virus Asked if they had left the house in the past 24 hours, 63.6 percent said yes, most to go shopping or for brief exercise.

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