coronavirus canada

1 in 5 Canadians think the coronavirus pandemic is being blown out of proportion

Today in news that should strike many as disturbing in the midst of a global pandemic that's already killed more than 16,000 people (and counting): Freshly-released poll results indicate that 20 per cent of all Canadians think the COVID-19 crisis is being "blown out of proportion."

Using "computer-assisted web interviewing technology," the marketing research and strategy firm Leger polled just over 1,500 adults in Canada from March 20-22 about their thoughts, feelings and predictions in relation to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

The firm asked respondents about everything from how long they plan to self isolate and when they think life will go back to normal, to their levels of satisfaction with how different levels of government are handling the pandemic.

"Using data from Statistics Canada, the results were weighted by gender, age, mother tongue, region, education level and presence of children in the household to make the sample representative of the entire study population," writes Leger of the results.

"For comparison, the maximum margin of error for a sample of 1,508 respondents is ±2.52%, 19 times out of 20."

This in mind, Leger determined that only 57 per cent of all Canadians are actually afraid of personally contracting the virus. When asked if they were concerned about a family member falling ill from COVID-19, however, 69 per cent of survey respondents said yes.

In terms of how the pandemic (and related state of emergency orders) have impacted their day-to-day activities, 21 per cent of people say they continue to visit friends and family as normal, 53 per cent continue to visit long term care homes like they would have before the outbreak, and 17 per cent indicated that they had taken no steps to ensure social distancing in recent weeks.

The most widely-shared finding from this particular poll, however, is related to peoples' perceptions of how officials and the world at large have responded to the COVID-19 crisis.

As reported by the Canadian Press, one in every five people who responded to Leger's survey think that the coronavirus situation is being blown out of proportion — 16 per cent of them partly so, 4 per cent of them "blown way out of proportion."

News of this particular finding has itself blown up so much that the term "1 in 5 Canadians" was trending on Twitter as of Wednesday afternoon.

"1 in 5 Canadians don't understand how the exponential function works," wrote one Twitter user in response to the finding.

"These 1 in 5 Canadians are why we'll need a lock down," wrote another, tacking on the increasingly popular hashtag #COVIDIOTS for good measure.

Leger executive vice president Christian Bourque was similarly disheartened by the finding, telling the Canadian Press that this "20 per cent of people must go down if we want to collectively achieve the objectives of flattening out the curve."

Public health officials everywhere would no doubt agree.

Lead photo by

Lauren O'Neil


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