When the Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung wrote, “In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order,” he wouldn’t have Alberta’s COVID-19 situation in his mind. The novel coronavirus has not gone anywhere. The health professionals say it won’t go anywhere. Dr. Deena Hinshaw, our chief medical officer of health, says Alberta needs to learn to live with COVID-19.
The virus has taken the lives of 2,330 Albertans and (God forbid) still counting. The Delta variant of this virus is spreading and they say it is more dangerous than the previous and currently other variants.
The Alberta government has lifted all health restrictions and delayed ending other measures, leaving Albertans in the doldrums. A sense of chaos has started emerging in the minds of the people. They are in a confused mode of life finding no way to go anywhere.
On one hand, Hinshaw says she hasn’t “heard a lot about the risks of maintaining” health restrictions, and on the other, an epidemiologist at the University of Saskatchewan, Dr. Nazeem Muhajarine, says these changes will have an impact on COVID-19 data collection and put Alberta in “an interesting and difficult predicament” and he hopes other provinces do not follow suit.
Albertans have not been given any modelling since April 2020. Though it is not a crystal ball, at least a sense of future could have been there.
In Calgary, the northeast communities are in utter confusion. In November last year, Premier Jason Kenney urged members of Calgary’s South Asian community to respect public health restrictions and that sparked backlash from those who say the remarks unfairly singled out racialized people for Alberta’s growing spread of COVID-19.
Of late, the premier is saying the northeast area is now one of the most vaccinated areas of the province. And with all health restrictions gone, people are now utterly confused. The parents of the school-going kids, the multi-generational households and the front-liners don’t know where to go. These communities say now the premier is asking them to forget the same restrictions.
Alberta’s top doctor apologized for causing “confusion, fear or anger” after communicating the province’s plan to eliminate (now delayed) the remaining COVID-19 public health measures. Her apology clears nothing but perplexes more. She said her message was not thus intended. Then what was it? is the question.
People can live with the virus, but how? With no measures at all?
It is beyond people’s comprehension that when some parts of the province have the lowest vaccination rates across Canada, how can they live with the virus without any precautionary measures? The region of High Level has only about 16 per cent, Forty Mile roughly 31 per cent and Two Hills County about 33 per cent of the eligible population have been vaccinated.
Many doctors are coming out and writing to the government, saying Alberta is going against advice from Health Canada, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.
So far, only three post-secondary institutions in Alberta are mandating masks, vaccinations or rapid testing for entry onto campus.
This type of paradoxical situation will further complicate the already complex situation. The chaos is at its top now. If “in all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order,” people should wait for that ideal state but not at the cost of lives of their near and dears.
“There’s too many men, too many people/Making too many problems
And there’s not much love to go around/Can’t you see this is the land of confusion?”
Disturbed-Land of Confusion, Genesis
Rishi Nagar is the news director at Red FM 106.7 in Calgary and a member of the City of Calgary’s Anti-Racism Action Committee and the Calgary Police Service’s Anti-Racism Committee.