A new poll has found that roughly one in six British Columbians do not believe that COVID-19 poses a real threat and a significant portion of skeptics say they have cut ties with friends and family over their views on the pandemic.
The online poll, conducted by Research Co., found that while 82 per cent of respondents consider COVID-19 to be a real threat, 15 percent do not, while three per cent are undecided.
“It’s definitely a small number, but it’s a number that is very vocal,” said Mario Canseco of Research Co., adding that many skeptics have taken to social media to voice their displeasure with how the pandemic is being handled.
Many of those who said they do not see COVID-19 as a threat say their disbelief has been a source of social friction. Twenty-six per cent of skeptics said they stopped talking with a family member and 25 per cent said they have quit communicating with a friend over disagreements related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Those who are skeptical about COVID-19 are more likely to be upset with how governments are handling it, with how media is covering it and also more likely to stop talking to their friends, stop talking to their families because of COVID-19,” Canseco said.
“So it’s almost a situation that ultimately borders on a cult. You know, ‘This is the way I feel about things and the media’s lying and the governments are not doing what they’re supposed to be doing and I’m also upset with my friends and family.'”
Despite that distrust, the poll found that overall British Columbians are satisfied with how our institutions have handled the pandemic, with the provincial government’s response approved by 60 per cent of respondents and 53 per cent approval for the federal government’s response.
Over 22,000 Canadians have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began and there has been a total of nearly 895,000 cases in Canada.
The survey of 800 British Columbians took place from March 1 to 3 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
— With files from The Canadian Press