Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi is supporting smart restrictions in Alberta during the pandemic to “crack down” on the spread of the coronavirus. Otherwise there could be a full lockdown coming.
Rising cases are of concern so these restrictions are critical. While he has been vocal in calling for action, the measures need to make sense and be communicated clearly to the public. The recent decision to reopen casino gambling, despite shutting down team sports, has been confusing. Alberta has recently rolled out a two-week ban on team sports and group fitness classes while mandating curfews on liquor sales in the province.
“There should be smart restrictions. Maybe some of the ones that are put in place can be lifted and replaced with others, but we really need to go to the source…We’vegot to justify every one of these restrictions and make sure they make sense.”
Part of the problem per Nenshi said, is that the province is overwhelmed by the rising cases. It is difficult to track where the majority of infections are actually coming from. As such, the restrictions may feel a bit random.
The mayor maintains that it is wise now to look at evidence from other jurisdictions facing the same crisis, so the restrictions are relevant and not ad hoc. Everything is dependent on hospital numbers and capacity.
“People go, ‘Well, we’re only at 62 percent utilization of ICU beds – we’ve got tons of room, not realizing that exponential growth means that to go from 50 percent to 100 percent is just one step…we’re doubling every week here now.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is urging provinces to “act now” to clamp down on the spread of the virus, now raging throughout the country with 5,000 new cases reported.
Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, says the country is on track to see new cases hit 10,000 daily in a few weeks unless significant changes are made. Nenshi, for is part, is glad to see more provinces acknowledging that tamping down on the spread is not a matter of choosing between the economy and public health.
“I’m glad that people are finally seeing how important this is…I reject the current argument that this is about the economy or public health. If you don’t have public health, you don’t have an economy and everything will shut down anyway.”