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“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

FELDSTED -- It makes no difference how we got here, or who made what decisions when -- none of that changes where we are today

Picking through and sorting out coronavirus / COVID-19 bones is a waste of time and energy. It makes no difference how we got here, or who made what decisions when.

None of that changes where we are today.

The infection curve was hypothetical, and it appears we have managed to avoid the estimated infection rate scenario. We cannot know if that is due to enforced isolation, overestimates of virus spread rates or some of each.

There is no cure for coronavirus on the horizon. Our challenge is to find a way to cohabit with the virus while minimizing infections and maximizing recovery rates. We forget that we exist with other influenza viruses we have no cure for.

Coronavirus is an inanimate bit of parasitic protein that can infect us but cannot attack us. Infected people can infect others. We need to identify infected people early and trace contacts while we isolate and treat them to minimize fatalities. We need to have an income replacement plan for isolated people for that system to work.

We failed to learn lessons from SARS and H1N1 outbreaks ... and did not use our surveillance resources to identify the next virus epidemic that we knew would appear.

We need to get it right:
• develop the protocols and tools necessary to manage the coronavirus risk,
• use our intelligence networks to identify the next virus threat early and act when we detect a threat – we do not need permission from anyone to protect Canada.
• curtail international travel when a threat is detected.
• make sure we have adequate medical supplies and protective equipment on hand to deal with an epidemic.
• have plans in place so that clinics, hospitals, personal care facilities, private and public workplaces have action plans to implement when an epidemic threat is detected not months later; and
• strengthen our laboratory and research facilities to ensure that we can create tests for a new virus quickly.

John Feldsted ... is a political commentator, consultant, and strategist. He makes his home in Winnipeg, Manitoba.


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