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  • Alarming is the finding that 31% (over 1M) of adult BC residents have been ill in the past several weeks, and 20% of them are worried about having COVID19 themselves and a significant number are changing their day-to-day behaviours as a result  

Vancouver, BC — As COVID19 continues to spread, British Columbia residents are watching developments closely and are now quite concerned about the virus impacting them personally; especially since a significant proportion has reported being ill over the past several weeks according to an updated Insights West poll conducted over this past weekend.

One month after Insights West reported residents’ concern about the virus, fresh results show that a much larger proportion are following this story very closely (48%) compared to earlier (34%) in February.  A further 40% are following it somewhat closely and only about 10% are not following it.  Overall concern has spiked in the same time period, as 55% say they are either ‘very’ (15%) or ‘somewhat’ (40%) worried, up from 47% earlier.

What is quite alarming is the number of people in British Columbia who reported feeling ill in the past several weeks, and the level of concern these individuals because that they could potentially have COVID19.  A rather large number of BC residents (29%) have reported being ill over the past several weeks, and of this group, about 20% have reported being worried to some extent about having COVID19 while the remaining 80% are not worried about it. So out of 4.1M adults in British Columbia—a total of over one million individuals (1.2M) have reported being ill recently.

As concerns about the epidemic escalate, our poll has found that these concerns have translated into significant changes in the behaviours of BC residents over the past several weeks. A large number has reported washing their hands more often (78%), touching their face less often (61%), avoiding shaking hands or touching other people (55%), buying/using hand sanitizer (36%), and cleaning or disinfecting homes more than usual (28%). On the other hand, only a small number are wearing face-masks (13%).

The virus concerns have also resulted in a change of behaviours outside the home such as stocking up on home necessities (28%), and visiting restaurants (24%), stores/malls (23%), and gyms/pools less often (18%).  Some are also working from home more often (16%) or are cancelling children’s activities (12%).

Travel is another area that has been significantly affected, with 31% reporting they are delaying a trip that they had already planned, and a further 13% saying that they’d actually cancelled a trip they had already booked.  Most (62%) feel COVID19 will have a negative impact on their future travel plans—up from 39% earlier.

The perceived potential negative impact of COVID19 economically is also very concerning, and the vast majority of residents are even more alarmed about how it will affect the travel industry and the overall economy compared to a short month ago.  A massive number of people (96%) feel that the virus will have a negative impact on the travel industry—including 78% who believe it will have a major negative impact on the global travel industry (up from 57% earlier).  A further 65% say it will have a major negative impact on the world economy compared to only 34% one month ago, and 50% say it will have a major negative impact on the Canadian Economy (up from 18%).

“This heightened level of awareness and concern about COVID19 has had a significant effect already on the perceptions, actions and behaviours of BC residents” says Steve Mossop, president of Insights West.  “Overall, citizens are scrambling and making significant changes in their day-to-day lives around cleanliness, activities that involve crowds, and their purchasing behaviours.  Most concerning is the high level of worry about the impact on the travel industry, and the Canadian and the global economy.  As recent stock market gyrations have indicated, the repercussions could be significant.”

About Insights West:

Insights West is a full-service marketing research firm based in Western Canada. Since 2012, the company has conducted over one million surveys, executed 2,000 studies, and issued over 350 press releases on a variety of topics, correctly predicting the outcomes of 24 out of 25 elections and plebiscites. Insights West is a team of passionate, truth-seeking researchers who question everything to uncover the truth and what is emerging for a diverse set of clients. With an understanding of shifting markets, consumer and societal trends, and commitment to uncovering truths through a proprietary toolkit and innovative research approaches, Insights West helps organizations make better decisions.

About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted from 3 March, 2020 to 9 March, 2020 among a representative sample of 814n BC adults. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies between totals are due to rounding. Click HERE to view the detailed data tabulations.


For further information, please contact:

Steve Mossop
Insights West