Canada remains in lockdown as the U.S. opens up

It’s quite the juxtaposition: Much of Canada remains under some fairly strict public health measures due to COVID-19. Masking, business closures, a curfew in Quebec and a stay-at-home order in Ontario.

In the United States, the opposite is happening.

States are opening up and not just ones run by Republicans, heavily Democrat California lifted its stay-at-home order a week ago amid improving conditions.

“We’re seeing a flattening of the curve — everything that should be up is up, everything that should be down is down,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said last week.

In New York State, the place with the worst COVID record in America, restaurants will be allowed to reopen for indoor dining on Feb. 14 with Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo saying people need to work.

In Florida, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis went even further last week.

“We believe every job is essential,” he said. “You work in a restaurant, we have your back. If you are a hairstylist, we protect your right to earn a living and if you are a parent, we ensure your kids have the right to in-person learning. Lockdowns do not work.”

Here in Canada, any talk of anything other than a lockdown puts politicians and their careers in jeopardy.

It’s a bizarre scenario considering that depending on how you slice it, all of these states can claim to be doing a better job than Canada’s major provinces.

On the issue of deaths per 100,000, the three U.S. states perform worse than the Canadian average, though Quebec (114) does beat out California (103).

Yet, on cases per 100,000 over the past seven days, the three states beat out all the major provinces but British Columbia. New York and California are coming out of strict lockdowns, but Florida is not.

The Sunshine State has remained far more open than many other jurisdictions in North America.

Now, consider where the population is across Canada; they don’t want fewer restrictions.

A poll by Campaign Research, provided exclusively to the Toronto Sun, shows that 67% believe that we should “implement all possible restrictions” to deal with COVID-19. This is the view of a strong majority in every province and a majority in every political party.

As for relaxing public health restrictions, 41% across the country believe that their provincial government has done a good job dealing with COVID-19 and the restrictions in place need to remain. A further 20% think the government has done a good job and restrictions should be relaxed.

But a full 27% say their provincial government has done a bad job and restrictions should be tighter and should have been brought in sooner. Only 9% across the country think the restrictions have been ineffective and excessive.

That means that across Canada, 68% believe that current restrictions should stay in place or even tighten. Atlantic Canada, Saskatchewan and British Columbia are most likely to favour keeping the status quo or tightening restrictions with Ontario not far behind.

There isn’t a single region where scrapping, or even relaxing, restrictions is close to being popular.

Part of this might be driven by the fact that Canada’s media refuses to consider anything other than lockdown harder and lockdown faster.

There is also the fact that other than B.C., the major provinces are run by more conservative-leaning premiers and their opposition parties tend to scream for even more restrictions rather than allowing people to get back to work.

The public believes that this is the only way to deal with COVID because that is what it is told.

We need to start having real and balanced conversations about how to deal with COVID because we are a long way from being done with this. Vaccines aren’t arriving in sufficient numbers to end this any time soon.

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