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Nanos Research poll shows more pushback in Prairies against return of mask mandates

A surge in respiratory illnesses like COVID-19, the flu and RSV, mainly among children, is prompting renewed calls for mask mandates.

Some Canadian hospitals are struggling with the number of sick kids, including the Alberta Children’s Hospital.

Alberta Health Services says the hospital is facing longer wait times due to the rise in infections and staffing challenges.

In Ontario, children’s surgeries are being cancelled and some kids are having to be treated in adult hospitals.

A new Nanos Research poll of more than 1,000 people conducted for CTV News found seven out of 10 Canadians would support the return of indoor masking requirements this fall if deemed necessary by health officials.

Fifty-two per cent support the return of mask mandates, 17 per cent somewhat support masking, eight per cent are somewhat opposed and 22 per cent are against mask mandates altogether.

Dr. Craig Jenne, associate professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the University of Calgary, said masking is an important tool in reducing the spread of respiratory viruses.

“I find it somewhat reassuring that the general public understands the significance of this and the impact it’s having,” he said.

Agreement across the country is fairly even, but B.C., Ontario and Atlantic Canada are seeing the highest support for mask mandates with more than 70 per cent, while the Prairies are seeing the least at 63 per cent, according to the poll.

Jenne said whether mask mandates are needed right now boils down to individual regions and what types of pressures they’re facing.

He said Alberta should take what’s happening in Ontario as a warning.

“I think the evidence is out there that we maybe need to take to take some steps in that direction,” he told CTV News.

“Again, a blanket policy maybe isn't the best strategy, but enabling individual schools, school boards and other areas with enhanced tools that can limit viral spread, whether that is flexibility to shift to online instruction or things such as masks within the classroom, I think are important tools.”

The survey also found more women than men supported masking, and overall, nearly 83 per cent of people over 55 were in favour, with the least support coming from those aged 18 to 34. Top Stories

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