As we approach Christmas, Saskatchewan remains caught in the middle of an epicentre of rising COVID-19 cases.
To the east of us, Progressive Conservative Premier Brian Pallister announced Manitoba’s lockdown measures will extend past Christmas.
To the west, United Conservative Party Premier Jason Kenney announced tough lockdown measures for Alberta that now surpass those in this province.
And caught in the middle is Premier Scott Moe — who surely has problems of his own.
The latest and greatest of these problems has to do with COVID-19 gaining a foothold in nursing homes in Regina and elsewhere — a frightening prospect, as this is the very thing that caused death totals to rise in other jurisdictions.
One long-time intensive care unit (ICU) doctor recently posted on Facebook that he has never seen so many people in ICUs for a single disease. The frightening reality is that is only expected to increase as ICU beds become even more scarce for the not only people with COVID-19 but also in accidents or suffering from heart attacks.
This has become the story on the Prairies of late and much is being made that all three Prairie provinces are run by conservative-minded governments.
Perhaps this needs to be put in perspective.
It is true is that Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta share governments that are decidedly pro-business. It’s also true that doctors in all provinces have expressed frustration with the slowness of political leadership to implement measures that might have more effectively clamped down on transmission.
But if you look around, you quickly notice COVID-19 problems are everywhere and that it may be a pretty big oversimplification to suggest that the struggle to get a handle on surging second-wave cases is only a problem in this part of the world.
The second wave has hit the U.S. even harder than the first wave —not only in red Republican states but also in blue Democrat states like New York, California and Massachusetts that have shut down restaurants and public gatherings.
It’s hit every province from B.C. to Quebec.
Quebec has banned most social gatherings, organized sports and closed restaurants, bars, gyms, libraries and museums since Oct. 1. Yet that province is now cancelling surgeries because of the COVID-19 swell in its hospitals.
People from elsewhere do like to bundle the prairie provinces as one place, but there has been important differences in both policies and messaging.
For example, in Manitoba, Pallister is now being hammered for not only the lockdown in his province but also calling out anti-maskers and anyone carelessly disregarding social distancing and other measures aimed at stopping the spread.
Of course, one would expect a bad reaction from the extreme right, still trying to convince the rest of us that this pandemic is not real. But shrill criticism also came from some of the left who just can’t give those political leaders they don’t like any credit for anything. It was disheartening.
So let’s end off with some good news.
Seven-day rolling average may be finally levelling out a bit.
Could it be a sign measures are finally working? Hopefully.
Hopefully our leaders will be encouraged for doing what’s right.