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Some Canadians believe officials exaggerate threat of COVID-19, poll suggests

Last Updated Sep 15, 2020 at 6:11 am EDT

FILE - In this April 27, 2020, file photo, passengers wearing face masks arrive in the main train station in Frankfurt, Germany. Germany launched a coronavirus tracing app Tuesday, June 16, 2020, that officials say is so secure even government ministers can use it. Smartphone apps have been touted as a high-tech tool in the effort to track down potential COVID-19 infections. But governments in privacy-conscious Europe have run into legal and cultural hurdles trying to reconcile the need for effective tracing with the continent's strict data privacy standards. (AP Photo/Michael Probst, File)

A new survey suggests there are Canadians who believe that warnings from public officials about the threat of COVID-19 are vastly overblown.

Almost one-quarter of respondents in an online poll made public today by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies say they believe public health and government officials exaggerate in their warnings, including about the need for measures like physical distancing to slow the spread of the pandemic.

Regionally, respondents in Alberta were more likely to believe the threat was embellished, followed by Atlantic Canada and Quebec, with Ontario at the bottom.

Broken down by age, younger respondents were more likely than those over 55 to believe statements were being exaggerated.

The online poll was conducted September 11 to 13 and surveyed 1,539 adult Canadians. It cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered random samples.

Leger executive vice-president Christian Bourque says the results may explain something else that came up in the survey: That a majority of respondents said they have relaxed how strictly they adhere to public health recommendations.

This comes after Ontario saw it’s largest jump in new COVID-19 cases since the beginning of June with 313.

Ontario’s health minister says the province will unveil a new fall strategy to address COVID-19 in the coming days.

Christine Elliott says the government has been working on the strategy over the summer in order to prepare for a possible second wave of the virus.

She says it factors in the impact of traditional flu season and capacity issues in the province’s long-term care homes and hospitals.

Elliott says the possible second wave will be complex and require a different approach than what the government used during the early months of the pandemic. (The Canadian Press)


With files from The Canadian Press.

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