One in 5 Canadians has had a COVID case in their household: poll

The numbers will come as no surprise, but a new study shows exactly how many families across the country have been affected by the rapid spread of COVID-19 and the Omicron variant.

One in five households, or 21 percent, has seen at least one case of COVID since December 1, 2021, according to new data. A significant number of people (36 percent) surveyed by the nonprofit Angus Reid Institute said these positive cases came just after the holidays, within the first two weeks of January, while 42 percent said the positivity took place in December.

Quebec had the highest levels of domestic infections, while Atlantic Canada reported the lowest. Since 1 December 2021, 22 percent of Ontarians have reported at least one adult or child with COVID in the home.

The study found 9 percent of Canadians have tested positive, either through a rapid antigen test at home or PCR testing at a testing center since December 1st. In addition to the 9 percent, another 4 percent said they were sure they also had COVID-19 during that period. Due to the scarcity of rapid antigen tests and PCR tests, many Canadians are told to accept that they have COVID-19 if they show any symptoms.

With Omicron cases showing signs of a peak in Ontario, it appears that the majority of Canadians support a return to pre-pandemic normality. The study found more than half (54 percent) said they want to see an end to all COVID-19 restrictions, a 15 percent jump since demand was asked in early January.

More than half of the respondents (52 percent) say their COVID symptoms were relatively mild. About 1 percent said they need hospitalization for their very serious symptoms. There has been controversy surrounding the word “soft” during Omicron’s global march, a single word that some say has spread a false sense of security about the impact of this particular variant of COVID-19, which has led to infection rates in December skyrocketed, and more children ending up in hospitals with COVID.

Four out of five who tested positive reported experiencing at least four COVID-19-related symptoms within the past two months. This number jumps to 86 percent among those who could not be tested but were sure they had COVID.

It is not surprising that the study found that test levels for low-income households “were significantly lower than those with higher household income levels”, according to Angus Reid. The results echo reports from COVID-19 that impact marginalized, low-income and racial communities disproportionately and more severely. Lack of access to testing and non-existent contact detection have also negatively impacted workplaces across the province.

British Columbia has the lowest levels of testing, with only 25 percent of adults reporting taking a test since December 1, 2021, compared to the national average of 42 percent.

The group that differs the most from getting rid of COVID-19 restrictions completely? Women over 54, says Angus Reid.

The online survey was conducted from 27-28 January 2022 under a representative random sample of 1,688 Canadian adults who are members of Angus Reid Forum. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size would carry an error margin of +/- 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The survey itself was commissioned and paid for by ARI.


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