Impact on Albertans
Double Digit Unemployment
The lockdowns have resulted in the greatest spike in unemployment in nearly half a century. In three months, the unemployment rate more than doubled to an unprecedented 15.5%, and has still not recovered to a level seen in the past 30 years. The societal impact of this cannot be overestimated. For many of these people it could be years before they can find gainful employment again.
Staggering Number of Failed Businesses
Already, many Alberta businesses have gone under, and many more will follow if the lockdowns are not ended immediately. Hard-working people are losing the businesses they worked years to build in order to provide for themselves and their families. It will take many years to rebuild and in the meantime unemployment will remain at record levels.
Alberta alone will rack up a deficit of more that $24 billion in 2020, with no end it sight, writes the Calgary Herald. The figures "are incredibly sobering" and "predict a grim reality for Albertans,” said Finance Minister Travis Toews. Meanwhile, the federal government's deficit is projected to exceed $380 billion this year alone. All of this money will ultimately come out of our pockets, and those of our children. We will be paying this for decades.
The real and tragic consequences and psychological impact of isolation on humans is well documented and can lead to depression, despair, mental illness, poorer physical health, increased suicides, substance abuse, domestic violence, self-harm and child depression. Our elderly should have the right to choose to see their loved ones, and many are dying alone without the comfort of their families around them. Some would even choose death before another lockdown.
Skyrocketing Suicide Rate
Despair has led a record number of Albertans to take their own lives this year. The Suicide Prevention Center tells us that for every 1% increase in unemployment, there is a 2.8% increase in the Alberta suicide rate. The largest sections of our population affected are youth and parents in their 40s and 50s. Families are losing children and parents who were in no danger from the virus whatsoever.
Increased Substance Abuse
Hopelessness, anxiety and depression lead to increased substance abuse with alcohol and drugs. We are seeing a record number of overdoses this year, both accidental and intentional. Alana Smith reports, "Overdose-related deaths are currently outpacing COVID-19 fatalities in Alberta." The societal and financial cost of these out-of-control addictions will impact the victims and their loved ones for years to come.
Domestic and Child Abuse
Financial pressures, anxiety, fear, substance abuse and isolation all contribute to rising domestic and child abuse. Statistics clearly show that our children are in no danger from this virus, but they are perhaps the one group suffering the most. Where does a child kept home from school and not allowed to see their friends go when their own parents turn on them?
Impact on Our Children
Studies show that children are impacted academically, mentally and socially in isolation. “The risks posed by the COVID-19 crisis to children are enormous,” said Jo Becker, children’s rights advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. They are cut off from their peers except for social media, highly susceptible to verbal abuses, angry outbursts, and rejection, with cyber-bullying on the rise. What of our children, and the future we promised them?