As 4th wave drags on, more Canadians fear the worst of the pandemic is yet to come, poll finds
As Canadians grapple with the ongoing fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, people have become less optimistic that the worst of the disease is behind them.
According to a new national poll from Research Co., 48 per cent of Canadians believe the worst of the pandemic is definitely or probably behind us. That's a decrease of 24 percentage points from July, when the pollster last asked the question.
The latest poll was conducted online on Sept. 18 and 19 among a representative sample of 1,000 Canadians, and claims a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Since July, the percentage of Canadians who say the worst of the pandemic is definitely or probably still to come has grown significantly, according to Research Co. More than a third of respondents (36 per cent) said the worst is still to come, up 21 points from the last time the question was asked.
Another 16 per cent were unsure whether the worst is over or still on the way.
B.C., ALBERTA AND ATLANTIC CANADA PARTICULARLY PESSIMISTIC
The poll's regional subsamples, which carry higher margins of error, suggest that anxiety over future pandemic waves is highest in B.C., Alberta and Atlantic Canada.
Alberta has been struggling with its highest rates of COVID-19-related hospitalizations and intensive care admissions during the fourth wave. On Tuesday, it set provincial records for both.
The province also has more than 20,000 active coronavirus cases, far more than anywhere else in Canada at the moment.
Against this backdrop, Albertans polled by Research Co. were more likely to say the worst of the pandemic is definitely or probably still to come (43 per cent did) than to say it's behind them (36 per cent). The remaining one-in-five were unsure.
British Columbians - whose province is also struggling with hospital capacity during the fourth wave - were more decisive than Albertans, but also more mixed in their perspectives.
Forty-five per cent of B.C. respondents told Research Co. that the worst of the pandemic is over, while 46 per cent said it's still to come. Only eight per cent were undecided.
Ontario and Quebec residents were less likely to think things will get worse, while residents of the Atlantic provinces were more so. Detailed tables from Research Co. can be found here.
AGE CORRELATES TO PANDEMIC PESSIMISM
Responses to the question of whether things will get worse before they get better also varied significantly by age.
Nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) of people ages 18 to 34 said the worst of the pandemic is over, while respondents in older age groups were less likely to feel this way. Among those 35 to 54, half (50 per cent) said the worst is over, while among those 55 and older, the total dropped to 39 per cent.