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Quebecers less worried about leaving the house amid coronavirus pandemic, new poll shows

People gather in a city park on a warm sunny day in Montreal, Monday, May 18, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

Despite experiencing the worst COVID-19 outbreak in Canada, a new survey suggests Quebecers are less worried about the novel coronavirus disease and in better mental shape during the crisis than other Canadians.

The Léger survey conducted for the Association for Canadian Studies found that 48 per cent of Quebecers are afraid of contracting the virus, compared with 51 per cent of respondents in the rest of Canada. Quebecers are slightly more worried than the rest of the country, however, when it comes to a family member coming down with the illness: 63 per cent compared to 61 per cent.

Quebecers are far less concerned than other Canadians when it comes to going to places where they could face exposure to the virus: according to the survey, just 44 per cent of Quebecers say they feel stressed about leaving the house, while 53 per cent of those in the rest of Canada feel the same.

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Despite having more than half of Canada’s confirmed cases of COVID-19 — and deaths — 51 per cent of respondents in Quebec said their mental health is “good” right now, compared to just 39 per cent in the rest of the country.

READ MORE: Montrealers line up to shop as retail stores reopen after coronavirus lockdown

Public health experts warn a second wave of the virus is all but certain, and while the survey suggests Quebecers worry about the prospect, they again do so at a noticeably lower rate than in the rest of Canada: 78 per cent of respondents in La Belle Province worry about a second wave, compared to 89 per cent in the rest of Canada.

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Distrust of the government’s transparency in its handling of the COVID-19 crisis is on the rise everywhere, but the survey again suggests that Quebecers are the most suspicious of the government’s transparency.

Sixty per cent of Quebec respondents told Léger they believe governments are hiding certain details of the pandemic from the public. That figure was just 47 per cent elsewhere in Canada.

However, when asked about specific conspiracy theories tied to the novel coronavirus, the survey suggests Quebecers are less convinced.

READ MORE: Montreal cellphone tower damaged in apparent arson

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While 25 per cent of respondents in the Atlantic provinces and 15 per cent of respondents nationally said they believed the disproven theory that 5G cellular technology was related to the virus’s spread, just 12 per cent of Quebecers agreed.

As for disinformation claiming that Microsoft founder Bill Gates had anything to do with the COVID-19 outbreak, 12 per cent of Canadians said they believed it, compared to 15 per cent in Atlantic Canada and just 10 per cent in Quebec.

A total of 1,510 Canadian adults were interviewed online for the survey between May 22 and 25. There is no way to measure the margin of error in an online survey.

— With files from the Canadian Press’s French-language service

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