Poll: Nearly 30% of Canadians say it’s time to ‘learn to live’ with COVID-19

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Published February 10, 2022 at 9:38 am

A new poll suggests almost 30 per cent of Canadians believe it’s time to lift pandemic restrictions and “learn to live” with the COVID-19 virus, while more than 40 per cent want measures to ease carefully.

Forty-three per cent of Canadians surveyed by Leger identified their feelings about the current state of the pandemic as “prudent” — the most popular answer of four options — saying they did not want to lift restrictions too quickly.

But 29 per cent said they were ready to move on, selecting the answer that said they were “adequately vaccinated” and viewed the Omicron variant as “less serious.”

The other 28 per cent of replies were evenly split among those who said they were anxious and those who were angry.

Fourteen per cent didn’t feel comfortable at all lifting safety measures, noting the virus was still scary for them, while the other 14 said they have been opposed to mandates and measures “for a while” and wanted governments to “give us back our freedom.”

The online survey of 1,546 adult Canadians was conducted Feb. 4 to Feb. 6; it cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered random samples.

Respondents from Alberta were the most opposed to mandates, with 24 per cent saying they were angry about the current state of the pandemic, while 22 per cent of those in Atlantic Canada felt most anxious about lifting restrictions.

Those over the age of 55 were more likely to say they were prudent about reopening, with 54 per cent saying so, while 36 per cent of those aged 18 to 34 said they were ready to lift safety measures.

Vaccination status also seemed to indicate how people responded to the survey.

More than 75 per cent of unvaccinated respondents said they wanted their freedom back, while 46 per cent of vaccinated individuals called for a careful reopening strategy.

Unvaccinated respondents were also more likely to say they were totally dissatisfied with federal government measures to fight the pandemic at 84 per cent. Sixty per cent of vaccinated participants said they were totally satisfied with the way Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has handled the COVID-19 crisis.

More than two-thirds of Canadians believe they’ve had COVID-19 within the last three months, whether they tested positive or not, with 54 per cent saying they had mild symptoms and 16 per cent indicating they had no symptoms at all.

Nearly half of respondents — 48 per cent — indicated they were personally afraid of contracting COVID-19, with 14 per cent saying they were “very afraid” and 34 per cent “somewhat afraid.” Forty-two per cent said they were not afraid of a COVID-19 infection.

Asked whether governments should lift all restrictions, 58 per cent replied no but 32 per cent said yes — up from 20 per cent in January and marking the highest level of support among Canadian respondents since 26 per cent in June.

Forty-six per cent of Canadians surveyed believe the worst of the COVID-19 crisis is behind us while 12 per cent said the worst is yet to come.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 10, 2022.

Melissa Couto Zuber, The Canadian Press

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