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A week in statistics: Obesity, Donald Trump and face masks, how global sentiment is changing through the pandemic

27 July 2020

By Ian Silvera, Account Director

Like any good fitness guru, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has his own highly engaging story to back-up the ‘system’ he is selling. The Conservative leader famously came close to death thanks to Covid-19, with the virus leaving him in an intensive care unit at London’s St Thomas’ hospital. “I owe them my life,” he would declare after getting on the road to recovery in April

A slightly thinner Johnson alongside his trusty dog Dylan has now launched a fight against fat, owing to the fact that obesity, among other bad things, can increase the chances of having severe disease brought about by Covid-19. 

Almost two-thirds (63%) of adults in England are overweight or living with obesity, the Government has warned, as the nation faces a “time bomb”. Number 10 will now go about banning “unhealthy” food adverts, ‘buy one, get one free’ offers and calorie labelling will come into force. 

The good news is that a vast majority (80%) of Britons already know the dangers of obesity, but only 39% of people could identify when a man is obese, compared to 54% for women, according to the 2015 Social Attitudes Survey

In the US, meanwhile, Joe Biden’s national lead over Donald Trump has slipped slightly to 8.2% in an aggregate of the main opinion polls, while the Democrat hopeful leads the Republican incumbent in three key states: Florida, Arizona and Michigan. The poll results come after the President cancelled parts of the Republican national convention that were planned for Florida, where the Covid-19 virus is on a rapid rise. 

“I’ll still do a convention speech in a different form, but we won’t do a big, crowded convention per se. It’s just not the right time for that,” he said. Trump, meanwhile, has started sporting a mask, something he had previously avoided doing in public. He has even declared the face coverings to be “patriotic”. 

Masks are also catching on across the other side of the world, with some seven out of 10 Australians (71%) now saying they would ‘probably or definitely’ wear a mask to protect against coronavirus “where social distancing was difficult and it was recommended by the chief medical officer”.

The findings come from Newgate Australia’s 20th tracking survey of more than 1,900 people between 20 and 22 July. The survey also found that  80% of respondents were “extremely” or “quite concerned” about the virus, up another two points from the week before and the sixth weekly increase.

In contrast, 84% were concerned about the economy (up from 80% last week). But despite all of these worries, only a quarter of Australians (26%) reported that they have worn a mask.