Social Contours & COVID-19

As of July 31, 2020

 

  1. Of the 10 risk exposures, indoor places visited, household density, exposure at work, contact intensity, grocery shopping are the top 5 risk behaviours—range 59% to 21% high risk; Net risk: 25% high risk, 40% moderate, 35% low.
  2. Perceptions: 80% “not at all likely” to get COVID in the next 7 days; 79% "very concerned" about spreading the virus should they become infected; 27% “I'm likely to get very sick“ or “likely to die” if infected; 53% Covid is “fairly big” or “very big” threat to health of my community.
  3. Trends: Significant overall linear increase in percentage of high risk respondents week-over-week, since May 4th. Significant linear increase in percentage of high risk respondents post May 19th (phase 2) and post June 8th (phase 3).
  4. Location: No clear geographic pattern of those in highest quintile of net risk, although preponderance seen in Saskatoon.
  5. Mask wearing: As many reporting wearing mask as there are who don’t. Mask wearing not associated with compensatory behaviour. 62% reporting mandatory mask in indoor public spaces.

An update from the Social contours and COVID-19 longitudinal panel survey, Saskatchewan (20-Aug-2020)

Below is week-by-week data for a calculated net (overall) risk for exposure variable. This variable is based on 10 behavioural and social risk variables minus 6 mitigation behaviour reported by respondents. Selected perceptual data are also reported. The data are based on 2872 respondents (May through July).

1. High risk for exposure to the virus is steadily climbing.

High risk for exposure based on 10 risk variables by week. Social contours and COVID-19 survey data, Saskatchewan (n=2872)

Fig 1. High risk for exposure based on 10 risk variables by week. Social contours and COVID-19 survey data, Saskatchewan (n=2872)

For the Saskatchewan sample, the percentages of survey respondents deemed high risk for exposure to the virus based on 10 behavioural and social factors increase from about 26% in first week in May to 34% in last week in July (Fig 1 above). This means about just under 1 in 3 Saskatchewanians are still putting themselves at high risk of exposure through their behaviours and social factors.

2. People who say the threat is big, they are concerned about spreading the virus are steadily climbing.

 Fig 2. Percentage of respondents in Saskatchewan who say COVID-19 is a big threat to their community by week, Social contours and COVID-19 survey data (n=1988) Fig 2. Percentage of respondents in Saskatchewan who say COVID-19 is a big threat to their community by week, Social contours and COVID-19 survey data (n=1988)

 Fig 3. Percentage of respondents in Saskatchewan who say that they are very concerned of spreading the virus by week, Social contours and COVID-19 survey data (n=1988)Fig 3. Percentage of respondents in Saskatchewan who say that they are very concerned of spreading the virus by week, Social contours and COVID-19 survey data (n=1988)

Percentage of respondents from Saskatchewan who say COVID-19 is a “big threat to their community” has climbed steadily since early June, taking a jump in the last week of July. In early June, about 43% of respondents said COVID-19 is a big threat, steadily climbing through weeks then jumping to 81% in the end of July. Our team will keep an eye on this sudden jump with the data in August to ensure it is not a blip.

Percentage of respondents in Saskatchewan who say that they are concerned about spreading the virus to others has also been steadily climbing in June and July, increasing from about 76% in early June to 85% in end of July.

3. People who say that the government is taking the right steps and that those around them are taking precautions are decreasing.
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Fig 4. Percentage of respondents in Saskatchewan stating that provincial government is taking the right steps in handling the pandemic, Social contours and COVID-19 survey data (n=2872)
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Fig 5. Percentage of respondents in Saskatchewan stating that people around them are taking precautions against the pandemic, Social contours and COVID-19 survey data (n=2872)

 

Percentage of people who say that the provincial government is taking the right steps to curb the pandemic has dropped notably in the last two weeks in July. Respondents to the survey were more critical of others, though—only 40% agreeing that people around them are taking precautions compared to 87% in early May.

 

Trends: June 2020 (Round 2)

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Nazeem Muhajarine and Social contours study team. Social contours and COVID-19: Using metrics and data to guide the reopening and reintegration process in Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit (SPHERU). 20 August 2020.

June 2020  |  n=1033

Net Behavioural Risk by Zones

May-July 2020
(Social Contours and COVID-19 Survey Rounds 1-3)

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Masks: Saskatchewan Sample

Behaviours (among mask wearers)
June 2020 | n=1033

  • 91% maintain physical distancing all or most of the time (v. 70% didn’t wear)
  • 98% always/most times wash their hands after being away from their home (v 85%)
  • 89% always/most times try to avoid touching their face when out in public (v 74%)

Risk-Perception
June 2020 | n=1033

  • 68% wore mask all/most time who said they will get "very sick" or die if infected (v 30%)
  • 65% wore mask who said COVID-19 is a "very big threat" to the health of their community (v 14%)
  • 49% wore mask among who were very concerned about spreading the virus to others (v 23%)

Mandatory Face Mask-Wearing
July 1-16 2020 |  n=669

In the same Social contours and COVID-19 survey in Saskatchewan, we asked: “when should wearing a face mask be mandatory?” In July:

  • 62%, a clear majority, said face masks should be mandatory inside a building at any time;
  • 15% any outdoor public space; and
  • 14% anytime when outside your property.

Only 11% responded that face masks should ‘never’ be mandatory. One in five (21%) indicated that they didn’t know or weren’t sure.

Those who indicated that mask wearing should be mandatory presented a similar profile to those who wore a mask frequently: older respondents, women, and those who perceived they would get very sick or die if they were to get the virus, were concerned about spreading to others, and felt COVID-19 was a big threat to their community.

  • Older respondents (65 or older, at 93%), women (89%) more likely to respond masks should be mandatory when in public or inside a building (compared to ‘never’).
  • Peoples’ perception of personal risk or spreading it to others or level of threat in the community is strongly correlated with likelihood to indicate mandatory mask wearing.
  • Only 27% of those who said they will not get a vaccine if one were to available indicated mandating mask wearing, compared to 94% who said they will get a vaccine.

 

Masks: Saskatoon Sub-sample

Subsample Analysis, June (Round 2) and July (Round 3)
Posted Aug 26, 2020 

Since the beginning of June, we have been asking Saskatchewan respondents to Social Contours and Covid-19 survey:

In the last 7 days, when you were inside a building (other than your home) where it was hard to maintain social distancing, how often did you wear a face mask?

The results below are based on the subsample of 1269 Saskatoon respondents in June (Round 2) and July (Round 3):[1]

484 (38%) said they wore a mask all or most of the time when they couldn’t physically distance

  • 103 (8%) said some of the time
  • 259 (20%) little or none of the time
  • 423 (33%) said they did not leave home or did not answer the question

For those whom this question was relevant (i.e. 846), 69% said they wore a mask all, most, or some of the time when they couldn’t physically distance inside a building. Those who are older (65+ years), women, and those with professional or advanced level education are more likely to indicate they wore masks all/most or some of the time. 

Perception of personal risk was related to mask wearing among Saskatoon respondents. Those who said if they get COVID they will get very sick or die, are more likely to wear mask all/most/some of the time vs those who said they will not get very sick at all (77% vs 55%).

Saskatoon respondents concerned about spreading the virus to others or felt that COVID-19 was a “very big threat” to our community were more likely to wear mask:

  • Those very concerned they would spread the virus to others were 2x as likely to wear masks frequently, compared to those who were slightly or hardly concerned (55% vs 46%).
  • 88% of those who said COVID is a ‘very big’ threat to the health of their community wore masks frequently, versus only 27% who said that COVID is a “very small” threat—more than 3-fold difference. 

We also found that those who wear masks frequently are more likely to also report other practices that are known to prevent the spread of the virus (i.e. risk mitigation):

  • when out in public, almost all frequent mask wearers (80%) maintain physical distancing all or most of the time;
  • most (74%) always wash their hands after being away from their home; and
  • just over half (76%) always try to avoid touching their face when out in public. 

Summary: Our timely survey shows that more than half of Saskatoon residents have adopted the new practice of wearing a face mask all or most of the time. Those concerned about spreading the virus to others and those who see the virus as a bigger threat to their community are frequent mask wearers. Mask wearing does not make people less concerned about other healthy practices; on the contrary, Saskatoon respondents who wear masks frequently are also very likely to follow public health recommendations regarding physical distancing, hand washing, and not touching their face. 

 

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[1] The August (Round 4) survey is currently in the field.

Nazeem Muhajarine and Social contours study team. Social contours and COVID-19: Using metrics and data to guide the reopening and reintegration process in Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit (SPHERU). 20 August 2020.

 

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PERCEPTIONS: Parents/Caregivers of School-Aged Children

How comfortable are you with children returning to full-time, face-to-face classroom education in September?
July 16-Aug 21 (n=449); H30

As this chart shows, the majority of respondents, about 80%, indicated they were uncomfortable with children returning to school in September. 

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What is your current plan for schooling your children in September? 
July 16-Aug 21 (n=357); H31

 Plan n %
Homeschooling/online schooling supervised by a parent 69 19.3
Homeschooling/online schooling supervised by another family member or caregiver 8 2.2
Sending to school because I have no other option 190 53.2
Sending to school because I believe it is safe 90 25.2

 

Level of Comfort with children returning to classroom education by current plan for schooling in September
Crosstab: H31 and H31; Fisher’s Exact Test p-value<0.001

Plan for Schooling Uncomfortable (n) Comfortable (n) Total
Homeschooling/online schooling supervised by a parent 66 3 69
Homeschooling/online schooling supervised by another family member or caregiver 8 0 8
Sending to school because I have no other option 173 17 190
Sending to school because I believe it is safe 21 69 90
Total 268 89 357

 

How comfortable are you with children returning to full-time, face-to-face classroom education in September?
by grade(s) of school-aged child(ren)
July 16-Aug 21 (n=449)

As this chart shows, across all grade levels, K to 12, the majority of respondents, three out of four, indicated they were uncomfortable with children returning to school in September. 

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How comfortable are you with children returning to full-time, face-to-face classroom education in September?
by grade(s) of school-aged child(ren) -  stratified by “current plan for schooling” their child(ren)
July 16-Aug 21 (n=449)

When we breakdown respondents’ comfort level and grades by current plan for schooling in September, a clear difference is seen: respondents who indicated they will be home/online schooling were clearly uncomfortable with their children returning to school; the younger the child, the more uncomfortable. 

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Check back on this site regularly for updated information about our research on COVID-19.

We are collecting data via our Round 4 - August 2020 Survey now and results will be posted in early September.