Nov. 13, 2020

What’s worse, the disease or the cure?

As the Coronavirus pandemic stretches on and more and more people test positive, more and more people are quietly expressing skepticism.

We are given daily reports by the provincial health officer and others but are we really being informed?

We are told that modelling projections point to as many as 1,000 people a day could test positive in the near future. But what is that informing us about? Is it just that that tests are being done and many are positive? Hundreds of people are placed in self- quarantine, and a small number are hospitalized each week. Sometimes we have large positive testing numbers but no increase in hospitalizations. Then also, the daily figures include people who have not actually tested but have been in contact with people who tested positive and are added to the daily totals.

A lot of people are not buying into the gravity of the situation. What they see day to day does not appear as threatening as it’s made out to be.

There is confusion, or some would say, misdirection about the fatality numbers. It’s largely older people, and many of them with underlying health issues topping the fatality lists. Did they die from the virus or did it exacerbate existing conditions? Is there a real number?

That brings up a really large question – the thousands self-quarantining – are they really sick or are they just taken out of circulation to stop the spread of the virus?

We’ve had serious pandemics in the past without total shutdowns. And with some of those, the death rate has been higher. It begs the question, are we going overboard? Would it be a simple matter for the public to suffer the virus for few days and get over it, all-the-while developing antibodies? In the near future, a vaccine should prevent further spread among the masses.

In the meantime, many British Columbians are not getting the health care they have become accustomed to. No longer can they visit their doctors’ offices and get personal interaction. It’s become health care by telephone, and if more is required patients are advised to check into the emergency department at the hospital.It takes a couple of weeks to get a phone-back appointment. Many issues requiring hospital care, including surgeries, are on hold.

Mental health practitioners are concerned about the impact of regulations on people. And the forecast of even greater spread, accompanied by more restrictions, will make things worse. Seniors, especially, feel the result of the shutdowns, not being able to get visits from family and friends.

The economic shutdowns and special regulations are having a major impact on our lives. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business estimates that 160,000 to 225,000 small businesses may permanently close due to declining revenue caused by the coronavirus and the ensuing lockdowns, only adding to the personal impact.

As there is no magic cure for the virus, there is also no magic solution for business. The CFIB is calling for improved federal monetary support, but keep in mind it’s not magic money, it has to be repaid in some fashion or other.

That makes you even more grateful for the fine line that Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry walks.