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COVID-19: Canadian concern over falling ill on the rise again

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage in the United States, Canadian provinces and territories have been focused on controlling community outbreaks on a smaller scale as well.

Now, a new study from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds concerns about personally contracting the virus rebounding after declining in each of the last three months. Three-in-five Canadians (59%) say they are worried about getting sick, up 13 points from June.

This concern, however, does not mean all Canadians are adopting a key mitigation suggestion from public health officials – mask usage. Just one-in-five (20%) say they always wear a mask when they go out in public, while 35 per cent say they do so “most of the time”. That said, another one-in-three (32%) say they rarely wear one, and 13 per cent never do.

Many Canadians who do not wear a mask constantly say they are cognizant of social distancing rules if they go out without one (28%). Others, say they forget to wear their mask (26%), say it’s uncomfortable (23%), or do not worry about getting sick (20%).

Notably, support for a mandatory mask policy is higher than the rate of personal usage. Three-quarters of Canadians (74%) say they would be fine with that policy if it were implemented in their community.

More Key Findings:

  • Worry about becoming sick plays a significant role in a person’s likelihood to wear a mask. Four-in-five (81%) of those who are very worried about contracting the virus say they wear a mask always or most of the time. Four-in-five (85%) of those who are not worried at all about becoming sick say they rarely or never wear one.
  • Concern about becoming sick remains variable across generations. Seven-in-ten of those ages 55 and over (71%) are concerned, while this percentage drops below a majority among 18-to 34-year old’s (41%).
  • Support for mandatory masks is 73 per cent or higher in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario Quebec, and Atlantic Canada. Support is 60 per cent in Alberta and 55 per cent in Saskatchewan.

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