Canadians' concerns about contracting COVID-19 are increasing even though the situation is clearly improving in the country, according to a survey issued by Canada's Angus Reid Institute Thursday.
The survey finds that concerns about contracting the virus have rebounded after declining in each of the last three months, as 59 percent of Canadians said they are worried about getting sick, up 13 points from June.
This concern does not mean all Canadians are adopting a key mitigation suggestion from public health officials -- mask usage. Just 20 percent said they always wear a mask when they go out in public, while 35 percent said they do so "most of the time." Another 32 percent said they rarely wear one, and 13 percent never did so.
Notably, support for a mandatory mask policy is higher than the rate of personal usage. Seventy-four percent of Canadians said they would be fine with that policy if it were implemented in their community.
The worries about becoming sick play a significant role in people's likelihood to wear a mask. Eighty-one percent of those who are very worried about contracting the virus said they always wear a mask or most of the time, while 85 percent of those who are not worried at all about becoming sick said they rarely or never wear one.
Concerns about becoming sick remain variable across generations. Seventy-one percent of those aged 55 and over are concerned, while this percentage drops to 41 percent among 18- to 34-year old people.
Canada's daily cases of COVID-19 have diminished greatly from the peaks in late April and early May. Approximately 300 cases are being cataloged each day, compared to 1,700 to 1,900 at the peak of the first wave of the outbreak.
However, anxieties in Canada have increased since June as media reported that international flights coming to Canada carried passengers that tested positive for COVID-19, and some Americans have used an Alaskan travel loophole to enter the country. Enditem