More Canadians relaxing precautions as fears of second wave increases

File photo of an N95 mask courtesy of ©

The latest survey by Leger suggests Canadians are beginning to relax social distancing measures just as fears of a second wave of COVID-19 are ticking upwards.

The pollster interviewed 1,539 Canadians and 1,001 Americans last weekend in an online poll of its opinion panel members.

It says a third of Canadians and Ontario residents admit they are not as vigilant as they were about precautions like social distancing, avoiding large gatherings, and wearing masks. On the flip side, 43 per cent of Canadians, and 45 per cent of Ontarians say they are following the recommendations as religiously as ever.

The number of respondents who believe the threat of the virus is exaggerated is relatively small. Only 18 per cent of Ontarians and 23 per cent of total Canadians do. A larger number of American participants think its overstated, about 41 per cent.

On Monday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced plans to bring forth a plan in the coming days to handle a second wave of the virus this fall. The announcement came just as the province hit a 14-week high in the number of daily COVID-19 cases with 313.

The survey also asked whether respondents believed if a second lockdown was coming. In Ontario, 70 per cent of respondents believe it is, compared to 65 per cent of all Canadian respondents. Just 48 per cent of Americans think so.

As for whether there will be a second wave this fall, Canadians feel pretty confident there will. About 85 per cent of Ontario residents believe there will be, while 80 per cent of Canadians do. One in six American respondents believes we are in for a second wave.

Most Canadians do not believe it has started yet.

In fact, the percentage of Canadians who think the worst of the pandemic is ahead of us is 45 per cent in both Ontario and across Canada. That percentage has been decreasing in the U.S. where only 34 per cent think the worst is yet to come.

Canada added another 944 cases to its caseload Wednesday for a total of 139,747 since the start of the pandemic. The U.S. recorded 39,095 and has a total caseload of 6.6-million.