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COVID-19 Compliance: One-in-five Canadians making little to no effort to stop coronavirus spread

Canadians enter their sixth month of the COVID-19 pandemic with the lived experience of the spring and summer behind them, and the uncertainty of flu season, fall weather, and back to school looming ahead.

Against this backdrop, messages aimed at reducing community spread of the coronavirus are being followed as scrupulously as ever by some and falling almost entirely on the deaf ears of others. 

Analysis of the latest public opinion data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute places Canadians into three broad categories in a measure of their behaviors and mindset, known as the COVID Compliance Index.

The Infection Fighters follow virus suppression behaviours carefully and comprise nearly half the population (47%). The Inconsistent represent just over one-third of Canadians (36%) and take a more half-in, half-out approach to flattening the curve. The remaining one-in-five (18%) are Cynical Spreaders who have expanded their social circles, don’t physically distance and are ambivalent towards hand washing and mask wearing. This last group also professes a clear dislike for the way public health officials and political leaders have handled the pandemic.

More Key Findings:

  • Age is among the most significant factors in the COVID-19 Compliance Index. The younger Canadians are the less likely they are to follow recommended protocols.
  • Political affiliation is also correlated with a person’s categorization in the Index. Past CPC voters are four-times more likely to be Cynical Spreaders than those who voted for the Liberal Party or New Democratic Party in 2019.
  • More than nine-in-ten Infection Fighters are regularly wearing a mask when in contact with non-family members indoors. This drops to 63 per cent among the Inconsistent and just 15 per cent among the Cynical Spreaders.
  • Of 10 different COVID-19 spreading behaviours (not washing hands, not social distancing, not wearing a mask, etc.) Infection Fighters are engaged in either one or zero. Three-quarters of Cynical Spreaders are engaged in five or more of these activities.

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