Ready for Phase 4? It's a big move. Manitoba will most likely move to phase 4 Saturday, meaning travel across the country without a 14-day quarantine, increased indoor and outdoor numbers at gatherings, and open theatres and casinos. And while the Premiere made the announcement yesterday in Winnipeg, in Victoria, BC did another briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, the province's chief officer of health. Dr. Henry has been my favorite person in this entire pandemic. Calm. Cool. Gentle. Even soft in her tone but stern in her content. Dr. Henry hits the right notes without fear, panic, or hype.
BC also did a great job in asking in a recent survey, "how are you doing? Really." And while some of the results are certainly specific for BC, I would think much of this data can be applied to Manitoba, and possibly most of Canada. The headline: We are in a mental health crisis that could end up much larger than than the pandemic itself. Of the 394,000 people that completed the survey, 47 percent said their mental health had declined during the pandemic. In addition, 33 percent of respondents said they had difficulty accessing healthcare, and 15 percent were worried about becoming food insecure. A further 69 percent felt their work was impaired. Young people between 18 and 29 reported greater mental health and economic stress than the general population. Families with children also report a greater burden. 89 percent of all respondents are avoiding all gatherings. People are stressed. And the stress is taking a toll. Once the pandemic passes, and it will pass, as we either get "herd immunity" or develop a vaccine, the cleanup will take some time. However, the economic recovery and the mental health recovery of our communities are two separate things. I hope for a speedy recovery for both.