With over 600 cases of COVID-19 in Canada to date, people across the country continue to cope with the reality of self-isolation and increased potential for community transmission of the virus.
According to a newly released online survey from Abacus Data, which polled 2,309 Canadians from Mar. 20 to 24, 40 per cent of respondents are “extremely worried” or “worried a lot” about the COVID-19 outbreak.
“It’s clear that the COVID-19 outbreak is unprecedented on so many levels,” a statement from David Coletto, CEO of Abacus Data reads. “The level of attention Canadians are paying to the issue, the deep seated and broad concern people have, and the uncertainty around how long it will disrupt their lives.”
Overall, women were significantly more worried about COVID-19 than men. A total of 47 per cent of female respondents were “extremely worried” or “worried a lot,” while only 32 per cent of men feel the same way.
“Most troubling is the varied reaction among different groups of Canadians,” Coletto said in the Abacus Data Bulletin. “Men, especially young men, are less concerned.”
“They are less likely to be distancing themselves from others, and less likely to think the epidemic will last for longer.”
Majority of Canadians fear contracting the virus
The poll found that 55 per cent of Canadians think it is likely or very likely that they, or someone close to them, will contract the coronavirus and 65 per cent believe “the worst is still to come” for the virus’ impacts.
A recent online survey from Leger, which polled 1,508 Canadians between Mar. 20 and 22, found that 57 per cent of respondents are very or somewhat afraid of contracting COVID-19 and 69 per cent are afraid for a family member.
The Abacus Data survey found that the majority of Canadians, 55 per cent, believe it will take two to three months or longer for us to be able to live our lives as we did before, while 20 per cent are unsure of the timing at this stage in the outbreak.
The majority of Canadians, 55 per cent, are really worried or somewhat worried about Canada not having enough medical equipment and 53 per cent are worried about a shortage of hospital beds.
Lack of medical equipment is a concern that health official across Canada are particularly aware of, especially with the global demand for medical equipment on the rise. Most recently, the federal government has said that it is investing in domestic manufacturers for products like ventilators and personal protective equipment for healthcare workers, to help meet demands across the country.
Mental wellness during isolation
The mental health impacts of the pandemic, and the associated self-isolation and social distancing measures, have also been a concern for people across the country.
Earlier this week, Canada’s Minister of Health Patty Hajdu said she is “very concerned” about the mental health of Canadians who have been “forced into a situation that they prefer not to be in.”
The Abacus Data poll found that 75 per cent of respondents feel anxious about the COVID-19 situation and 37 per cent feel lonely.
“As a rapidly evolving issue, perceptions and views will undoubtedly change, but the big picture of our state of mind is profoundly concerning,” Coletto said. “Canadians are feeling anxious, worried, and uncertain about how this will turn out.”