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By Bruce Anderson & David Coletto

WORRY LEVELS ARE LOW AND STABLE

Just 16% say they are extremely worried or worried a lot about Covid-19. This has been relatively consistent through July and August, and the lowest levels we have seen since the beginning of the pandemic in March of 2020.  Just 18% say their level of concern has increased in recent days, the lowest number since the pandemic began.

REPORTED INFECTION RATES HAVE NOT RISEN THROUGH SUMMER

A total of 27% say they are sure they had Covid and another 10% believe they probably did.  After climbing in the period between February and July, these numbers have remained stable throughout the summer months.

MOST PEOPLE WHO HAD COVID REPORT LIMITED SYMPTOMS

Three out of four people who believe they were infected with Covid-19 say their symptoms were either uncomfortable but not bad, or that they had hardly any symptoms.  Just under a third (31%) described their symptoms as bad (24%) or very bad (7%).

FEW EXPECT A SEVERE FALL WAVE OF COVID

Most (66%) expect there will be lots of Covid infections, but symptoms will be generally mild in the coming months.  Just 10% anticipate that there will be a lot of severe illness and hospitalizations.  24% believe that fewer and fewer will be ill and eventually, Covid will disappear.

MOST PREFER GOVERNMENT TO BE VIGILANT, BUT RESTRAINED

As fears of Covid have eased, more people believe the right approach for government is to be prepared to introduce measures if things get worse, “but don’t push too hard”. A quarter (25%) say that under no circumstances should government put in mask, vaccine or other rules/mandates.  Only 22% say the government should take all possible measures to reduce the spread of the disease, even if it means going back to the way things were earlier in the pandemic.

MANY MIGHT PASS ON A BOOSTER THIS FALL

While roughly 90% of the adults surveyed have had some vaccination against Covid, only 38% are certain that they would take a booster dose if that’s what is recommended this fall. Another 19% say they would probably take a shot. Outright refusal stands at 18%.

MANY PARENTS ARE HESITANT ABOUT VACCINATING THEIR CHILDREN

Among parents with children in the 12-17 age range, 17% are hesitant to get their kids vaccinated and 14% say they won’t.  The levels of hesitancy rise among parents of younger children.  Among those with children under 5, a third are hesitant and a third say they won’t take the step to get their child vaccinated.

UPSHOT

According to Bruce Anderson and David Coletto: “This summer has left people feeling more confident that the worst of Covid is behind us and looking forward to a future where Covid is a smaller preoccupation and a more livable, manageable risk.  These feelings may not map well to the scientific or medical data, but they nonetheless create political conditions that are different from those a year ago.  Canadians want governments to react with appropriate measures and caution, but to be restrained – an abundance of caution made more sense to people before many experienced Covid and the value of vaccinations firsthand. Today, they feel the risk is more known and manageable.  Notwithstanding the massive demand for the vaccine, its uptake, and the belief that vaccines helped limit severe illness and death, a significant number of people are uncertain about whether they will take a booster dose if one is recommended this fall.”

METHODOLOGY

The survey was conducted with 1,500 Canadian adults from August 26 to 30, 2022. A random sample of panelists were invited to complete the survey from a set of partner panels based on the Lucid exchange platform. These partners are typically double opt-in survey panels, blended to manage out potential skews in the data from a single source.

The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 2.6% 19 times out of 20.

The data were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Canada’s population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

This survey was paid for by Abacus Data Inc.

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