Tbilisi, July 29, 2020
According to the results of a survey conducted by the Caucasus Resource Research Centers for the National Democratic Institute in Georgia last month, 53% of Georgian residents believe that faith offers protection from the coronavirus.
However, only 17% agree that the nation’s relative success in handling the pandemic “is mostly due to our genetics and religion.”
The survey shows Georgians’ attitudes on a variety of COVID-19 related issues, including the role of faith and religious leaders, disinformation, and attitudes towards the EU and NATO amid the pandemic. The survey was conducted between June 26 and 30 with 1,550 respondents. Ten focus groups were also conducted in five cities.
According to the survey, only 10% of Orthodox Christians attended the Paschal Liturgy this year. In May, Tengiz Tsertsvadze, the Director of the Tbilisi Infectious Diseases Hospital, reported that there was no spike in coronavirus cases after the holy day.
Asked whether “faith protects believers of my religion from getting infected with the COVID-19,” 53% of respondents agreed and 38% disagreed, with 9% unsure.
There was little variability based on location, with 49% of Tbilisi residents agreeing with the statement, and 56% of rural residents agreeing. There was more variability based on age, with 45% of 18-34-year-olds agreeing, 61% of 33-54-year-olds, and 50% of those 55 and older.
Men and women only differed by a single percent, with men agreeing at a rate of 53% and women—52%.
Concerning trusted sources for information on the pandemic, 61% trust religious leaders, while 90% trust the National Center for Disease Control and 85% trust the government.
Concerning the origin of the virus, 30% believe it was developed in a lab and spread intentionally, 22% believe it was developed in a lab and spread accidentally, and 13% believe it came about unnaturally. Only 3% responded that the virus doesn’t really exist.
If a COVID-19 vaccine existed, 38% said they would vaccinate themselves and their children, 46% would not, and 15% are uncertain.
Earlier this month, His Eminence Metropolitan Daniel of Chiatura and Sachkhere said a miracle was seen in Georgia, where there was no eruption of the coronavirus epidemic despite the fact that the churches were never closed.