As the COVID-19 pandemic approaches its first birthday, a new INNOVATIVE online poll of 3,763 Canadians shows fears of COVID-19 starting to ease as fatigue grows.
INNOVATIVE has been tracking fatigue by asking Canadians whether they agree or disagree with the statement “I don’t think I can keep up these changes for very much longer” after a battery on preventative behaviours. From August to December, agreement fluctuated between 25 and 29 percent as Canadians sustained their commitment to protecting themselves and their community against COVID. However, the first two months of 2021 have shown fatigue growing as agreement increased to 32% in January and 35% in February.
Concern about of catching COVID peaked at the end of 2020 at 70% for yourself and 83% for vulnerable friends and family. While concern remains high, it dropped marginally in both January and February for a total decline of five points for yourself and 6 points for vulnerable friends and family.
Increased fatigue and declining fears set the stage for an increase in risky behaviours and a decrease in preventative behaviour. While risky behaviours held at a second wave low in January, they generally increased by about 3 points in February. Preventative behaviours also reached their second wave peak in January and now are showing mostly marginal declines.
Objectively, as an increasing number of the most vulnerable Canadians are vaccinated, it makes sense for fears to ease. However, with the increasing prevalence of faster spreading variants of COVID-19, growing fatigue and the early signs of decline in preventative behaviours raise concern that the vast majority of Canadians who have yet to receive vaccine may be at increased risk.
For more information on COVID-19 attention and key attitudes, click here.
For more information on COVID-19 behaviours, click here.