Speculation on virus variants causing
a ‘third wave’ of COVID-19 infections is a distraction. We know that infectious
viruses are unstable and mutate, causing variants.
We need to know, in plain language, why there is a third wave at all. Why have thirteen months of lockdowns and restrictions on our freedoms failed to contain COVID?
Why are we distancing ourselves from family, friends and neighbours and wearing face masks while COVID variants spread unhindered across Canada?
How did COVID variants discovered in various foreign nations all manage to infiltrate our population with ease?
Speculation about COVID variants is dangerous, as it is used to justify extending restrictions on our freedoms and rights without dealing with the questions above.
Restricting our freedoms is contingent on the actions being effective. If they are effective, there is no risk of a third wave. If they are not, imposing more restrictive measures is ridiculous.
Infectious disease specialists have confirmed that contagious viruses mutate. Science has evolved to identify mutations (variants) in a fraction of the time it once took. Communication has improved, so information on variants is shared worldwide and instantly.
We have a new body of virus information and no idea as to what, if anything, it means. We have no reason to believe that the variants are more or less dangerous than the original strain of coronavirus.
Medical people are speculating on what the variants mean. When H1N1 ravaged our population, the virus was mutating, but we did not identify the variants.
In the first wave of COVID-19 older adults in congregate living conditions made up 75% or more of COVID victims. When the second wave hit in the fall of 2020, older adults in congregate settings died in droves. Governments took no steps to protect them.
Medical people express concerns that COVID is now infecting young people who are becoming very ill. Young and healthy are not synonymous. We have fretted for decades about youth obesity, lack of exercise and a high incidence of diabetes. We can suspect that many young people have inadequate immune systems, particularly a lack of vitamin D. What we are seeing is infections of young people with underlying poor health factors hidden from casual observation.
Demanding stricter lockdowns and ‘stay at home’ orders is ridiculous. Essential workers are exempt and will continue to go to work and contact one another and members of the public. Travel restrictions do not apply to essential workers and many others who brought the variants to Canada.
We don’t have a reliable system of reporting COVID-19 or any other epidemic data. I have written several articles on the misreporting of COVID statistics. Maclean’s magazine wrote an article about Canada’s public health data meltdown. The deeper we dig into the coronavirus repose, the more we realize just how vulnerable we are.
We have multiple data systems that are not compatible or interconnected. Provincial COVID stats are transmitted to Health Canada by e-mail or fax, which is ridiculous. There are no common standards for reporting which makes data reliance questionable.
Plans to provide hourly-paid essential workers with replacement pay for COVID related time off would have worked a year ago. The emergency legislation that enables governments to issue COVID regulations does not allow measures to protect essential workers from undue exposure. It is too late for a wage replacement program to be effective to avoid the third wave.
The doctors insisting that we put all other citizens under house arrest to avoid overwhelming their facilities have never explained how they allowed COVID outbreaks to occur in hospitals.
We have numerous groups claiming that they should have first access to limited vaccine supplies. It is astonishing how quickly the veneer of a classless, democratic nation of equals is destroyed by the thundering horde of “me first” people.
The fervour over virus variants glosses over the failure to provide essential workers with personal protective equipment in the spring, 2020 first wave of COVID. Governments left them alone, afraid and vulnerable.
Now government claim they do not understand why essential workers are mistrustful of the COVID vaccines. If essential workers were considered expendable in spring, 2020 (all available Personal Protective Equipment went to hospitals) why would they trust governments now?
John Feldsted … is a political commentator, consultant, and strategist. He makes his home in Winnipeg, Manitoba.