Line up for groceries outside Thrifty Foods, Hillside mall/Photo by Brishti Basu

As more and more Canadians adopt physical distancing and other measures to curb the spread of a global pandemic, one report shows that some remain unconvinced that these steps are even necessary.

A new study conducted by the Angus Reid Institute finds that one in every eight Canadians, or 12% of adults, thinks that the threat of COVID-19 is “overblown”.

The study also shows that the percentage of the population that believes the pandemic is not a serious threat has been on a steady decline as the outbreak affects more and more people in Canada.

(Angus Reid Institute)

Demographically speaking, the largest group of people who believe the outbreak in Canada has been overblown are men aged 35 years and above, making up 45% of the study group.

A whopping 64% of the group that is not taking the pandemic seriously voted for the Conservative Party of Canada in the 2019 federal elections, according to the report.

(Angus Reid Institute)

Some of the measures and orders presented by public health care experts to tackle this pandemic include washing hands frequently, maintaining physical distance (at least 2 metres) between people, avoiding public spaces, and not shaking hands or hugging people.

The study shows that while most Canadians – 72% of those who have been taking the COVID-19 threat seriously and understand the risks of transmission – report practicing all four measures, only 37% of those who think it’s overblown have been taking the aforementioned precautions.

However regardless of whether or not people take the threat of the virus seriously, the general consensus on when things will return to normal in Canada appears to be the same: within three to six months.

(Angus Reid Institute)

This study was conducted based on an online survey between March 20th and 23rd among a representative randomized sample of 1,664 Canadian adults who are members of Angus Reid Forum.

A second survey was conducted between March 25th – 26th and added 207 more respondents to the study.

The full report is available here.

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