covid 19 conspiracy

A staggering amount of people in Canada believe in COVID-19 conspiracy theories

Have you heard that Bill Gates and a cabal of nine other powerful men who rule the world created COVID-19 in a lab to infect the masses, make vaccines mandatory, and then secretly inject microscopic tracking devices into all of our bodies? 

An Uber driver I had last week told me all about it. I thought her beliefs were... unique, to say the least. But they're not. Far from it.

The billionaire founder of Microsoft is central to one of many conspiracy theories floating around online about the coronavirus, its origin, and where it'll lead society in the future, and the number of people who believe it is true has proven staggeringly high.

Images went viral last week of survey results in which 44 per cent of U.S. Republicans were shown to "believe Bill Gates wants to use COVID-19 vaccines to track people." Same goes for more than half of those surveyed who say they get most of their TV news from Fox.

The newly-released results of a poll from Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies found similarly that 24 per cent of all American respondents believe the Bill Gates theory. In Canada, only 12 per cent of respondents indicated the same — though that figures rises to 16 per cent among those living in rural areas.

covid 19 conspiracy

A higher percentage of Americans surveyed by Leger were found to believe in COVID-19 conspiracy theories than Canadians. Image via Leger360.

"Bill Gates created COVID-19 to track us all" is only one of ten popular conspiracy theories presented by Leger, however, to 1,005 Americans and 1,510 Canadians between May 22 and May 25. 

Americans were found more likely to believe all ten of the theories than Canadians were, but Canada has no reason to be smug — some demographic groups within the country are more likely than others to think that, say, COVID-19 never existed, or that there's a link between the spread of the virus and 5G mobile networks.

Leger's survey revealed that 61 per cent of Canadians between the ages of 18 and 34 believe at least one of the ten "alternative theories" presented by the pollsters. This is compared to 53 per cent of all Canadians across the board.

When broken down by theory, however, we see a great deal of regional diversity.

People in Alberta and Atlantic Canada, for instance, were found more likely to believe that "COVID-19 was created to interfere with the reelection of Donald Trump" than anyone else.

Roughly 25 per cent of Atlantic Canadians also believe in a link between 5G and COVID-19, compared to just 15 per cent of people across the country as a whole.

covid 19 conspiracy

Respondents in Atlantic Canada, Alberta and in rural parts of the country were found most likely by Leger to believe in 'alternative theories' when it comes to COVID-19. Image via Leger360.

Albertans and people living in rural parts of Canada were most likely to believe that COVID-19 was created in a laboratory, with 46 and 45 per cent of respondents indicating as much respectively.

Leger's results indicate that 34 per cent of all Canadians think COVID-19 was created by the Chinese government, with rural residents and residents of Atlantic Canada once again leading the pack.

Those in Quebec were least-likely to believe in conspiracy theories, with only 49 per cent of respondents from the province stating that they believed in any of the ten presented. B.C. and Ontario followed with 52 and 53 per cent of people indicating they believed at least one theory.

Age-wise, people over 55 were the least-likely in Canada to believe any COVID-19 "alternate theories," with lower-than-average positive response rates recorded for every single theory posted. People living in the suburbs (48 per cent) were less likely to believe in conspiracy theories than those in urban (53 per cent) and rural (63 per cent) environments.

You can see the full results of the survey here, but be warned: They don't reflect well on young people, rural folk or residents of Alberta.

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