A new study out of Quebec City’s Laval University indicates young people are less likely to follow COVID-19 health guidelines, although they are well aware of the increased consequences of contracting the virus.
The study was compiled by several professors at Laval University as well as the Polytechnique of Montreal. The authors wanted to examine how Quebecers perceived the risks of the coronavirus, and how that affected their behaviour relating to respecting COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.
“The results of this study allow us to explain the latest developments concerning the evolution of the pandemic in Quebec — young adults respect less health instructions while declaring to have a higher risk of contracting the virus,” said Charles Bellemare, a co-author of the study and professor at Laval University.
The authors found several results stood out.
Their survey indicates people under 30 are less likely to follow COVID-19 guidelines, while fully understanding it increases their risk in contracting the virus.
“They are well aware of what they are doing and the consequences and their own risks of contracting COVID-19,” said Professor Sabine Kroger of Laval University in a statement.
“We aren’t sure if they are aware they also increase the risks to others.”
The study also found those with pre-existing conditions were more likely to follow health strict guidelines. But that group was also more concerned they would contract the virus.
Men in general were less likely to follow coronavirus guidelines, such as washing hands when returning from home and wearing masks.
The study also indicates Quebeec city residents were less likely to follow rules than Montrealers.
“Persons in Quebec are less likely to wear a mask, which may explain why Quebec is now a yellow region and Montreal is still a green region,” said Kroger.
The study was conducted at the end of July over several days. Leger Marketing compiled the data for the authors.
Medical experts say the results — especially relating to young people — aren’t surprising.
“In spite of what we know about the virus being spread in confined spaces, they are flocking to the bars,” said McGill University professor Dr. Joe Schwarcz.
“I think we have to avoid the concept that we can get back to a normal life. The evidence just does not indicate that.”
The authors say they could have predicted current behavioural patterns playing out today.
They say studies like theirs could help the government target their messages.
“The results of this research will thus make it possible to anticipate the behavior of different groups of people in anticipation of a second wave of COVID-19 and to make links between the perceived risks (under or overestimation) and compliance with the instructions. of public health,” said Nathalie de Marcellis-Warin, a co-author of the study and professor at Polytechnique Montréal.
Quebec’s premier says he’s sympathetic to the young, but they must be vigilant.
“I have been young. I know when you are young, freedom is important, I can understand,” said Francois Legault.
“But we have something that did not happen for a hundred years. To have this kind of pandemic, everyone has to realize the importance of controlling the pandemic.”