Almost half of Canadians are taking specific actions in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak with one-in-three expressing concerns about catching the virus, according to a new poll by Dart and maru/Blue.
The survey revealed that almost all Canadians (97 per cent) are aware of COVID-19, and almost half (46 per cent) have changed their regular habits as a result of its global spread.
Increased hand washing (38 per cent) is one of the main ways Canadians have responded to the outbreak, with 11 per cent saying they’ve purchased extra supplies in preparation for possible quarantines.
Around 12 per cent have stopped going to sporting events, movies or restaurants.
A majority of Canadians are content with how government and health officials have handled the virus, with 69 per cent saying they’ve been “prudent and measured” in their response. That number is unchanged from identical polling conducted a month ago.
To mask or not to mask?
Despite health officials advising against the use of masks in healthy people, the majority of Canadians (55 per cent) don’t think people wearing masks are overreacting.
The highest number of people who believe wearing a mask is an overreaction live in Alberta (53 per cent) and Ontario (47 per cent).
The survey posed the following question about racial bias and discrimination:
Assuming they were on a bus and there was an empty seat beside them, Canadians were asked to respond to the following: if a person of apparent Chinese origin, with no apparent symptoms of a cold, came and took that seat, would they move somewhere else to deliberately avoid being around that person because of what they have heard about the Coronavirus?
One in seven Canadians (15 per cent) said they would switch seats. That number was highest in Quebec (21 per cent) and lowest in Alberta and Atlantic Canada, with 11 per cent respectively.
The survey of 1,513 randomly selected Canadian adults is considered accurate to within +/- 2.9 percentage points. It was conducted on March 2, 2020.