A new poll suggests Canadians are growing increasingly worried about the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and potential lockdowns to limit its spread — but experts say the country has the ability to prevent such stringent measures.
The Ipsos poll conducted exclusively for Global News found 71 per cent of those surveyed are worried about the fourth wave, up two points from July. Even more Canadians are worried about new variants of the virus threatening a return to normal, growing by seven points over two months to 88 per cent.
Those rising fears have also coincided with dwindling acceptance of lockdowns to stem the fourth wave. While 63 per cent of those surveyed said they would support a lockdown, that’s six points down from 69 per cent in July.
“People are obviously quite afraid of what this so-called Delta wave is potentially going to bring to the country,” said Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs.
“What they fear (is that) we kind of get back on track and then all of a sudden we get back into the situation that we were previously in.”
But experts say Canada already has the solutions necessary to prevent a harsh lockdown like those seen last year. Besides vaccinations, they say widespread mask-wearing and improvements to indoor ventilation can ensure Canadians can keep a semblance of normal.
“We need to really use all the tools at our disposal,” said Michael Brauer, a professor in the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia.
“My sense for this winter is that we can manage our situation as best as we can with vaccination, but we’re probably going to get into a situation where we’re going to need to use those other approaches.”
Canada is now seeing an average of nearly 4,000 cases per day, a majority of which have proven to be among unvaccinated people or those with only one dose.
Canada’s top doctor says vaccine mandates helping uptake, impact on spread of COVID-19 ‘remains to be seen’
More than 75 per cent of eligible Canadians aged 12 and over are now fully vaccinated. But the more transmissible Delta variant means vaccination rates need to be even higher than once thought necessary.
“We’re kind of right on the edge of the point where we think we can perhaps control transmission or reduce it to a manageable level just through vaccination,” said Brauer. “If we go up a little more, we may be in a manageable place.”
Brauer added that vaccinated people can rest assured, “that not only is your probability of becoming infected much lower, but the severity of an infection is also much, much lower.”
Learn to live with the virus?
The Ipsos poll also found that a growing number of Canadians think we should simply learn to live with active COVID-19 cases as a fact of life — particularly as vaccinations lower the risk of severe infection. Seventy per cent of those surveyed said they felt this way, up three points from July.
Just over half of respondents went a step further, saying the spread of less serious cases would be a welcome trade-off for returning to a semblance of normal.
Bricker says the data reflects the fact that Canadians are learning more about the virus and adjusting accordingly, particularly to the post-vaccine reality.
“What we’re seeing is, I would say, a more nuanced public opinion environment around this issue than what we were seeing, say, a year ago,” he said.
While Brauer and other experts say we may very well see a future where we are living with a continued spread of the virus, they also warn that the possibility of more mutations and variants complicates the picture.
“The greatest threat to us all is the global pandemic, which we’re doing next to nothing about,” said Kerry Bowman, a bioethicist and professor at the University of Toronto.
The Delta variant itself evolved in India at a time when cases were spreading like wildfire across the country while few people were vaccinated.
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Bowman says poorer countries around the world are seeing outbreaks that could lead to even worse mutations — and the potential for international spread is great.
“The reason it’s coming from these countries — it’s nothing sinister,” he said, “it’s simply because they don’t have a lot of vaccines and the virus is festering.
“All of our focus is on Delta, and Canada is looking very much inward as opposed to outward. And that’s what has me most concerned.”
Just over half of those surveyed by Ipsos said they think the fourth wave will be worse than what Canada has seen before. Yet about a third said those who are concerned about the next few months are overreacting.
The poll also found younger Canadians are more likely to agree that the country should learn to live with the virus in order to avoid restrictions (59 per cent), while those aged 55 and over were more supportive of lockdowns (69 per cent) and are worried about the fourth wave (81 per cent).
Brauer says while COVID-19 may not disappear “in our lifetime,” he believes Canada has the potential to move toward living with the virus — so long as officials and the general population use a variety of measures while becoming more proactive.
“We are on that road back to normal,” he said. “But it’s going to be a little bit of a bumpy road and it’s going to take a little bit longer.
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between Sept. 3rd and 6th, 2021, on behalf of Global News. A sample of n = 1,500 was interviewed online, via the Ipsos I-Say panel and non-panel sources, and respondents earn a nominal incentive for their participation. Quotas and weighting were employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the adult population according to census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos polls which include non-probability sampling is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ± 2.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error. Ipsos abides by the disclosure standards established by the CRIC, found here: https://canadianresearchinsightscouncil.ca/standards/
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Evolution of Canada as a Modern Payments Leader
With Silicon Valley taking most of the tech headlines from the North American continent, Japan being regularly publicized for its leaps in robotic technologies, and the UAE constantly investing in the latest tech, it doesn’t come as a surprise that many forget about Canada as a leader in the world.
However, just because Canada doesn’t command international headlines doesn’t mean that the country hasn’t proven to be incredibly tech-savvy, especially in the realms of payments and money. As a developed market, Canada has long boasted one of the highest credit card penetration rates in the world, at 83 percent (17 percent higher than the United States).
This is the start of a trend that will likely see Canada become the example of how payments around the world will take place, especially as it’s reported that the country will likely be the first to banish banknotes. Already, over 80 percent of Canadian bank transactions are made digitally, with there being many solutions available to the population. Yet, there’s more to come from the world-leading market in modern payments.
Rapid adoption of innovative cashless payment services
While VISA, MasterCard, and American Express still form the foundations of much of Canada’s payments preferences, eWallet and mobile payment solutions have become incredibly prevalent. Both PayPal and Apple Pay boast a strong customer base across the country, with a 2019 survey indicating that over 20 percent of Canadians had the PayPal app, with over 15 percent installing the Apple Pay app.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that, due to the influx of these once-termed ‘alternative’ payment methods, new industries have quickly embraced them to appeal to Canadians. This isn’t anywhere more apparent than with the online casino industry, with the very best accepting PayPal as well as Skrill, Neteller, Trustly, and the two card providers. By offering these safe and popular methods, players are happy to try out thousands of online games.
PayPal looks to be positioning itself as the leader of a cashless Canada, and yet it’ll be expanding its offering even further soon. In September 2021, PayPal paid US$2.7 billion to acquire Japanese online payments firm Paidy, which specializes in buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) and payments without credit cards. This could further enhance its appeal to the Canadian population.
Growing into an ever-more digital space for money
Despite the rate of adoption of the newer or tech-savvy payment methods among customers, many still experience payment friction. It was found that over half of all Canadians have experienced a vendor not accepting their preferred payment method or there being a limit on the amount that can be transferred with any one purchase. This is why PayPal’s entry into BNPL could enhance its scope in Canada.
The BNPL market is tipped to be worth nearly US$4 trillion by the end of this decade, making it a powerhouse option in eCommerce. It will certainly become popular in less-developed markets, where people want more expensive goods than they can afford outright. However, it also has its place in a market like Canada, which will make all tiers of purchase more accessible to all, particularly if the PayPal rollout gains traction.
Another digital area of finance that Canada is seen to be particularly smitten with is that of cryptocurrencies. The government has created a remarkably crypto-friendly regulatory landscape, helping all kinds of coins to know where they stand, appeal to Canadians, and be used across the country. It’s said that around 1.2 million people (3.2 percent of the population) own cryptocurrencies in Canada already.
It doesn’t come as a surprise that Canada is tipped to become the first cashless nation in the world, particularly with the adoption rate of eWallets and the embrace of even more modern solutions.
Alberta province replaces health minister
The premier Alberta province replaced his health minister in a cabinet reshuffle on Tuesday, as a fourth wave of COVID-19 cases swamped the healthcare system and the government came under fire for mishandling the pandemic.
Hospitals in Canada‘s western oil-producing province are buckling under a surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the highly contagious Delta variant. There are a record number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care, and Alberta has cancelled all non-elective surgeries and discussed transferring patients to other provinces.
United Conservative Party (UCP) leader Kenney and Shandro both face criticism for loosening public health measures much faster than other provinces earlier this year and delaying proof of vaccination requirements as cases started to rise.
“This cabinet shuffle is once again Jason Kenney refusing to take responsibility for his actions and his decisions,” independent lawmaker Drew Barnes, a member of the legislative assembly, told Reuters. “The best thing he could do is resign.”
Barnes was thrown out of the UCP caucus in May for publicly calling for Kenney’s resignation.
Alberta is a conservative stronghold but support for the federal party led by Erin O’Toole slipped in Monday’s election, which some Conservatives blamed on dissatisfaction with Kenney.
On Tuesday the province wrote to the federal government formally requesting more critical care staff and for help transporting patients out of Alberta.
(Reporting by Nia Williams; editing by Barbara Lewis and Sonya Hepinstall)
A MADE IN CANADA, WORLD FIRST SOLUTION, FOR APPLYING ALCOHOL WARNING LABELS
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Gene Pardy, Owner
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