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We have to have some balance in fighting the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic

May 2020

Even though we are still living with the deadly Wuhan coronavirus, we do need to begin the process of returning to some semblance of a normal society.

We have to balance the risk of death from infection, with the deaths from lack of surgeries and medical treatments like cancer, from suicide due to financial ruin and mental illness due to the stress of the pandemic, as well as injuries and death from domestic violence, some exasperated by self-isolating at home.

Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott reported at a press conference on 24 April that as many as 35 people may have passed away due to cancelled surgeries, according to a study by the University Health Network in Toronto. How has that been a good thing?

We were told to shut down our society to help flatten the curve, which obviously wouldn’t alone eliminate the threat, but would help ensure that our hospitals weren’t overwhelmed, as in other countries like Italy. This happened and better, with the actual number of reported cases dramatically lower that even the most conservative of predictions by health experts.

So why are we still in a lockdown?

No where in Canada has it been reported that anyone under 20 years old has died of the virus, in a population of around 8 million young people in Canada.

The Globe and Mail has reported to date that in 312 detailed studies about clusters of coronavirus cases, not a single one has found transmission of the virus by casual contact outdoors.

Given that, why are our playgrounds and parks closed, or at least severely restricted in use? Surely some could be re-opened and if parents have concerns about their children playing at their local playground, make sure their child understands the good hygiene rules we all need to follow, wear gloves and masks if possible, or keep them home.

Approximately 5300 have died in Canada due to the coronavirus, but 82% were of those deaths were people over the age of 70 and living in senior’s homes. Underlying health conditions have also been a significant element.

Obviously any deaths are tragic, but the annual influenza and pneumonia season regularly sees between 6000-8500 deaths, yet we don’t crater our economy and destroy people’s lives in the process.

One common link between senior’s homes and meat packing plants, the two biggest clusters of infection in Canada, is that both employ large numbers of low-paid employees that have to live in communal housing for financial reasons, and in the case of senior’s homes, often have employees who work at several homes just to make enough money to support themselves.

According to a report from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, a research institute working in the area of global health statistics and impact evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle, from 12 May, the rates of infection would dramatically spike from hundreds of new cases a day up into the thousands by June and well into August of this year. Now that Georgia has had their “shelter-in-place” restrictions lifted for 14 days and they are a month into the re-opening of the state, new IHME predictions fall dramatically short of prior predictions. Georgia is looking at 367 daily cases by June and no new cases by August.

Adding further frustration for the general public, why do politicians threaten us with fines for violating emergency measures laws against socializing and unnecessary (according to them) travel, yet many have been observed violating these orders themselves, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer, Toronto Mayor John Torry and former Green Party Leader Elizabeth May? Either we all need to be on virtual house-arrest, or we don’t.

Now that we’ve destroyed around 2 million jobs and we now know that the virus, thankfully, hasn’t been as bad as the experts thought it would be, can we begin re-opening the economy and our society?

All levels of government should be relaxing some, if not all, of the restrictions, with the advice to still be cautions about proper hygiene and staying home if you are truly sick.  Essential businesses such as grocery stores, convenience stores, the LCBO and pharmacies appear to have done good job of keeping infection rates down, so why not allow other businesses to resume operations if they are able to implement similar safety measures?

Bottom line, we have to begin relaxing the lock-down, with caution, or we risk causing even more damage to our society than just what the coronavirus has done.

It’s sad that it took this global pandemic for all of us to remember that we need to wash our hands and not cough or sneeze in other people’s faces, just as we should do every year during the flu and cold season.    

Sources: https://www.cp24.com/news/model-shows-cardiac-surgery-delays-due-to-covid-19-may-cause-30-deaths-1.4915776, https://gellerreport.com/2020/05/states-that-reopened-do-not-have-more-covid-19-infections-than-ones-that-stayed-closed.html, www.rebelnews.com.

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/we-have-to-have-some-balance-in-fighting-the-wuhan-coronavirus-pandemic/

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