More than half of Canadians think it’s inevitable that they’ll contract the Omicron variant of the COVID virus, according to a new Angus Reid poll. Fifty-five per cent of respondents said they believe they’ll contract the highly contagious variant, even if they follow public health guidelines and obey all restrictions.
The sentiment was more strongly expressed among men than women, with 67 per cent of men between the ages of 35 to 54 either agreeing or strongly agreeing, compared to 59 per cent of women. That age group was the most likely among either gender to believe Omicron is an inevitability.
There didn’t appear to be a dramatic difference in that sentiment across provinces. The province most resigned to contracting the virus was Manitoba, with 64 per cent, while the most optimistic province was Nova Scotia (46 per cent).
Similarly, very few people across the country believe that the pandemic will end this year: 51 per cent of Canadians don’t think 2022 will be the last year of the pandemic; fifty-five per cent said they don’t know, and only 23 per cent are optimistic that the next 12 months will see the finish of COVID-19. Men were slightly more likely to believe it will be over soon than women.
Parents of school-aged kids mostly said that when it comes to their government making decisions about school closures, they want the government to balance kids’ mental health and social development with the need to stop the spread of COVID. Prioritizing social development was especially important to 42 per cent of parents whose kids were in kindergarten, and 43 per cent whose kids were in grades one to four. That number dropped to 40 per cent for parents whose kids were in grades five to eight, and 37 per cent of parents whose kids were in grades nine to 12.
Meanwhile, while most Canadians want an to end pandemic restrictions, there’s a lot of nuance in people’s thinking. Those who said they believe Omnicron will get them despite the precautions they take are divided on whether or not restrictions should end for people who aren’t “at risk”: 49 per cent want to get rid of public health measures, while another 48 per cent wanted to keep them in place. But 70 per cent of those who think they can protect themselves from the virus want the restrictions to stay.
And perhaps unsurprisingly, the unvaccinated are the group most enthusiastic about ending restrictions. Eight-nine per cent of people who haven’t received any doses of the COVID vaccine want to get rid of all restrictions, compared to 46 per cent of people with two doses, and 25 per cent of people who have been boosted.
The survey was conducted online from Jan. 7 to 10, and included 3,375 Canadian adults in a representative random sample. Click here for the complete survey.