Most people in rich countries think we're going to have another pandemic within a decade

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Most people in rich countries think we're going to have another pandemic within a decade
A woman wearing a mask moves her shopping cart December 3, 2020 in a Trader Joe's supermarket in New York City. Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images
  • People in G7 nations think there will be another pandemic on the scale of COVID-19 within a decade.
  • Global Progress and YouGov surveyed 11,433 adults across the G7 and Australia about their pandemic attitudes.
  • Across the countries, the majority of respondents said "you can't be too careful in dealing with people."

In case one unprecedented, world-shaking pandemic wasn't enough, a lot of people in rich countries think there will be more.

That's according to new polling from the Center for American Progress, completed by Global Progress and YouGov. They surveyed 11,433 adults in the G7 countries - the US, UK, France, Germany, Japan, Canada, and Italy - along with Australia ahead of 2021's G7 summit.

In every single country, the majority of respondents think it's likely that there will be "another pandemic on the scale of COVID-19" in the next decade. Americans were the least concerned, with just 54% of respondents thinking it was likely, compared to a total average of 61%. The French, however, were the most worried: 73% of respondents think it's likely.

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Respondents were also concerned that COVID-19 might just stick around. When asked if COVID-19 "will mutate and return in the next 10 years," a majority across the eight countries - 54% - said it was likely. The US was again not as concerned, with just 47% of respondents saying they think it's likely the current pandemic virus will return. Conversely, 65% of Japanese respondents - the highest level among countries in the survey - think that the virus will make a return.

But the pandemic also helped citizens of those countries identify the most important takeaways from such a dramatic, and lifechanging, event. When asked to what extent certain lessons should be learned from the pandemic, the need for countries to work together, the need for governments to act quickly, and the need for governments to prepare for the possibility of a pandemic came out on top.

That cooperation could be inhibited by the findings around how much respondents trust other people. Broadly, 62% of respondents said that "you can't be too careful in dealing with people." Respondents in Italy and France were the most suspicious, with their distrust at 81% and 79% respectively. Meanwhile, about a third of Americans responded that "most people can be trusted."

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