Saskatchewan residents are less likely to wear masks, and are among the nation’s least vaccinated according to a new survey from the Angus Reid Institute amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
It also reveals a lack of sympathy among some vaccinated people toward those without the jab.
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The survey shows provinces like Saskatchewan appear to be trying to shift back to pre-pandemic life faster than others.
Only a quarter of Saskatchewan residents are always masking up in closed spaces, indoor or out, according to the study, noting it is one of the provinces with the highest rate of vaccine hesitancy in Canada.
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This could be part of COVID-fatigue, according to one anthropologist from the University of Saskatchewan.
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Typically there are stages during a pandemic, according to medical anthropologist Pamela Downe: first uncertainty, then a sense of community.
“As that goes on people become very fatigued, they become questioning and resistant, some even become angry at what happens,” she said.
“People are feeling exhausted by this influx of information, people are feeling overwhelmed by the responsibilities that have been put on them.”
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She said these feelings aren’t new, but with the pandemic stretching on people are feeling uncertain.
“How we’re going to educate kids, will the children be safe, how and I going to resume work how and I going to pay the bills? There’s all of these uncertainties around us,” Downe said.
She said for some it is easier to push for the old norm.
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However, just because restrictions have lifted doesn’t mean you should go maskless, according to Dr. Cory Neudorf, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Saskatchewan.
The virus is still around, and can still mutate, he said.
“The chance of one of those mutations being a worst strain of COVID-19 or one that’s able to evade vaccines for example or become more transmissible,” he said.
“When you’re still in a partially-immunized population it’s especially important to try to keep rates of disease down, or very very low so you don’t create another variant where the virus can mutate into something worse.”
He said that is why some venues are considering mask mandates, or only letting those vaccinated in — to better protect the public.
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“People are saying ‘we’re not all at the same risk right now so why do we all have to behave exactly the same way,” he said.
Both said they believe the push for people to get vaccines should continue. Meanwhile, the survey also found those fully-vaccinated are losing sympathy for those who did not get the shot, and get sick.
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