Saturday will mark six months since the first case of COVID-19 was identified in Alberta, and some people say there are increasing signs that the pandemic is leading to more and more frayed nerves.
During Thursday’s COVID-19 update, the province’s chief medical officer of health talked about how frustrated people might be feeling.
“Pandemic fatigue is a very real thing,” Dr. Deena Hinshaw said. “COVID-19 has taken many things away from us, and I know that I would love to be able to return to the old normal… as I’m sure all Albertans would love to be able to do.”
Hinshaw has come under fire over the province’s school re-entry plan and most recently, earlier this week, over her clarification of an order, called Order 33, regarding Alberta students not being required to be distanced when seated in class.
“This is something we can’t see the end of… so it’s totally natural people are feeling frustrated,” Hinshaw said.
“I can understand why, especially because of the way Order 33 was released, why that would have become a focal point for some of those frustrations.”
The order was signed on a weekend and no news conference was held to discuss it at the time.
Facebook fan club closes
Six months ago, Bill Wolfe started the Dr. Deena Hinshaw fan club on Facebook.
“Very impressed by her demeanor, the way she carried herself and she essentially turned into Alberta’s mom,” Wolfe said Thursday.
The page, however, is now coming down.
In a post to the group of more than 12,000, Wolfe noted many new members have posted “abusive and aggressive comments towards Dr. Hinshaw and the page admins.”
“We have easily removed over 100 in the last two days,” he said. “It has become extremely hard to keep the page positive and clean.
“We don’t really tolerate it,” Wolfe explained.
He said there have been many people questioning her role in the province’s pandemic response and what her authority is.
“We have people from all over the world on the site, so it’s very interesting to see how people support each other [and] how misinformation can affect a group,” Wolfe said.
The page will come down this Saturday, but a new one is already up in its place called Positively Alberta.
The goal is to share positive stories from across the province.
“There’s a craving for positivity — 2020 has been a negative knockdown,” Wolfe said.
Registered psychologist Aimee Reimer said returning to work, school and any sort of routine right now can make people feel uneasy.
“That stress can make people feel more anxious, more uncertain and can impact perceptions,” Reimer explained.
“Lots of people are talking about feeling fatigued, feeling tired of all of the rules and guidelines they need to follow.”
Especially, she noted, when there’s no end in sight.
“I think this sense of hopelessness is starting to rise,” Reimer said.
She added that often times people will look for someone to blame if they’re feeling angry or uneasy.
Reimer suggests showing others compassion instead.
“Even if it doesn’t solve all their uncertainty and stress, that might give a bit of a different perception and maybe make all the difficult things a bit easier.”
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