As the coronavirus gets upgraded to a global health emergency, many British Columbians are watching closely for developments– but not because they’re worried about the virus affecting them personally.
That’s according to results from a new Insights West poll, released Wednesday, which asked 818 people how they feel about the novel coronavirus.
“Although it’s in early days for the coronavirus as a global health emergency, the general public in B.C. is approaching this cautiously, and we haven’t turned up the alarm bells to full volume—yet,” Insights West president Steve Mossop said in a news release.
While roughly 82 per cent of respondents said they are aware of the virus and are following any developments closely, about 58 per cent said they are not overly worried about it impacting them. Thirty-three per cent said they are “somewhat worried,” and 9 per cent said they are “very worried.”
Instead, much of the respondents voiced concern over how the virus will negatively impact the Canadian and global economy.
A vast majority of people surveyed, or 95 per cent, said they feel the virus will have a negative impact on the travel industry, with 38 per cent saying the outbreak will have an impact on their own future travel plans.
When asked about the world economy, 88 per cent said they believe the coronavirus will have a negative impact on an international scale. That number dropped to 72 per cent when asked if they are concerned about the Canadian economy.
“Overall, citizens feel that they are somewhat protected, as only a minority feel personally vulnerable to the virus. More concerning is the high level of worry about the impact on the Canadian economy and the global economy,” Mossop said.
“As residents have already started to take action with respect to their travel plans—this could have a massive trickle-down effect on the overall global economy moving forward.”
So far, the viral outbreak that began in Wuhan, China has infected about 20,600 people – with neary 24,500 of those cases found on mainland China, as well as two confirmed cases in B.C.
The virus can display symptoms similar to the common cold or flu, including fever, coughing and difficulty breathing.