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Some more likely than others to leave the house

Léo Ramos Chaves

Middle and high earner are more willing to leave home to work during the pandemic than low earners, even at the risk of contracting the novel coronavirus, according to a study by researchers at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul (PUC-RS). A group led by psychiatrist Rodrigo Grassi de Oliveira created an online questionnaire presenting a hypothetical scenario to determine at what level of contagion risk (ranging from 5% to 80%) people would be willing to ignore social distancing guidelines to go to work, and at what risk level they would stay at home. With 7,200 participants, the study found that on average, people would face a contagion rate of up to 38% to go to work and maintain their income, but only 13% would do so if they were likely to become seriously ill. Those over 35 with a medium or high income showed a greater propensity to go out to work to maintain their income, even with a high contagion risk. Of this group, only those aged over 45 and in good financial health said they would stay at home even if they lost their income (PLOS ONE, January 19).