No matter what happens from the time Saskatchewan premier Scott Moe and Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said the province was going to ‘ease’ restrictions brought forth by the pandemic, it displays a lack of cohesion and communication within Canadian leaders when it is most needed.
That being said, who is to argue with the 39-page five-phase Sask. plan which first phase is to go in effect May 4. (See it here: https://www.saskatchewan.ca/government/health-care-administration-and-provider-resources/treatment-procedures-and-guidelines/emerging-public-health-issues/2019-novel-coronavirus/re-open-saskatchewan-plan/re-open-saskatchewan)
Per capita and considering all mitigating factors, Saskatchewan has been one of the best provinces in controlling the pandemic up until this weekend. The number of cases has been low and the previous projected peak for the province is fast approaching.
Congratulations. One can look around and see what a mess Alberta is. As of April 25, there were 4,233 cases, 73 deaths.Saskatchewan there are 349 TOTAL, 288 who have recovered and 4 deaths.
Impressive. There must be some strong measures in place. Take away that Christopher Lake snowmobile rally on March 14 which saw 24 cases directly linked to the gathering and the recent La Loche outbreak, Saskatchewan has been prudent in keeping numbers down.
Sure there are examples on social media of people complaining about groups of people meeting in parks or on their front lawns etc. but it is manageable. In fact, from April 17 to April 23, inclusive, according to Sask. RCMP stats: there were 78 total calls for service related to Covid-19: 43 complaints of social gatherings of over 10 people; 8 complaints of people failing to self-isolate when allegedly required to do so; and 27 other COVID-19 related complaints.
Considering how mind numbingly frustrating this has been to stay at home and not be able to do anything on a personal scale, it has been as they say flattening the curve in Sask.
However, It has been devastating the economy, like it has across Canada. No one can shop other than for the bare necessities like groceries. Events - major and minor have all been shut down, and many of those smaller businesses are either deeply hurt or devastated to the point of no return.
However, this virus is not the flu. It is not a media-created scam. It is real and it is still here. As of April 26, worldwide it has infected 2.92 million and killed 204,000. In Canada, it has infected 46,640 and killed 2,560.
With the announcement of Moe, there is no cohesivenss in the message of flattening the curve. It is confusing to say the least.
You can’t just say “meh, we’re good; whatever happens, happens…screw it.” Unless there is a vaccine or there is flattening of the curve across Canada… this cross-the-board social distancing has to continue.
Moe is doing what he think is best for his province. You can’t fault him for that and it has created a much needed relief of pressure and heaviness on Saskatchewan residents. Like everywhere, the economy and overall societal psyche is in need of a major boost.
Ease the restrictions right? What's it going to hurt? Just like a person on a diet looking at a plate of cookies, one won't hurt. Maybe not, but it could. Bad.
It has to be an all-in restriction or it will turn into a free-for -all in regards to travel and where you can visit. Why, because you are going to tell people from other provinces they can’t travel to Sask. See phrase: ‘opening the floodgates.’
The message of “stay inside” including from the provincial government is now being tempered with a “Don’t go outside with any social gathering, but it is okay if everyone floods the highways to parks,” Won’t a lot of people be thinking the same thing after being bottled up staring at the same four walls?
Are RCMP going to stand at the Alberta/Saskatchewan border and intercept those Wild Rosers crossing the border for a round of golf or heaven forbid, getting their wild tangled masses of hair cut and styled?
According to Phase One of the Sask. plan one can travel to parks, campgrounds and golf courses I.e. Cypress Hills Provincial Park May 4 but because federally all national parks are closed, you still can’t go to Fort Walsh? Ummm… okay. You can’t play on playground equipment in most centres… does that still apply within parks? You know someone is going to hire a lawyer to argue that point the first fine (or maybe not?) they receive for it.
Phase Two involves opening some retail stores May 19. RCMP photo radars at Maple Creek will be worn out.
What about even in your own province. “Non-essential” travel to northern Sask i.e. La Loche where the province on April 17 officially declared an outbreak of 23 new cases is now opening the rest of the province up? Confusing. Sarcastically one envisions images of residents on the Alberta side of Lloydminster in fatigues or dark clothing crossing the Sask. border to get highlights in their hair done. Can a wall being built be far behind?
It also raises the other question, who is running this pandemic battle anyway? The federal government is not exactly loved or respected by many in Alberta and Saskatchewan for a variety of very valid reasons. However in the rest of Canada, Prime Minister Trudeau’s approval rating hasn’t been higher. Where is he in all of this? Just going to let the province’s do whatever?
In the words of Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer “…We need to remember that a single case of COVID-19 can result in significant spread in large groups of people. Make sure you take precautions before heading out…COVID-19 does not respect our feelings.”
Has no noticed Alberta’s economy and its overall health of its population flopping around like goldfish which jumped out of a bowl and is on the floor gasping for air? The province of Sask. (population approximately 1 million) has 349 cases total with only 70 active and four deaths. Brooks, population 16,000 and one hour and three quarters away from the Alberta-Saskatchewan border, has 459 cases, active with 456 of those being currently active and two deaths.
Just like a kid testing his parents, Saskatchewan has decided they are going to break free.
Hopefully, there won't be scenes of beaches in the United States where college students are blanketing the acres of sand obliterating the social distancing rules.
Scott Moe is a smart guy. He is no Las Vegas mayor Carolyn Goodman. Please, if you go on YouTube, search for her interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper. Very Donald Trump-esque in its level of injecting disinfectants to cure COVID-19.
However Moe and other provinces desires to ease restrictions shows a lack of cooperation and most importantly communication with the federal government.
Instead of having the “what-ev’s” attitude, they need to work together because unless there is an interprovincial travel ban or a real and proven elimination of this virus, this pandemic will last longer and then there will be an economic disaster.
Like coming back from healing a sports injury that you should've given another length of time to: it's too fast, too soon.