Jan. 28, 2021

We are in this together and other government lies

The mantra has been repeated thousands of times by politicians and health care experts. It is a mantra, not a true fact. Politicians and government bureaucrats have made it clear that virus regulations do not apply to them. When caught, they make a brief show of contrition.

Some Premiers (notably Pallister) have stated that Canadians from other provinces are not welcome unless they quarantine for 14 days. Pallister wants Manitobans who leave the province to quarantine for two weeks on return. “All in this together” takes on different interpretations depending on who is trying to score political points today.

Variances in virus regulations from province to province make little sense. We not all in this together, and our leaders are not on the same page. Our first COVID-19 case was identified at the Sunnybrook hospital in Toronto on January 23, 2020. The same day, Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, told the country: “The risk of an outbreak in Canada remains low.”

The fixation on total case counts makes no sense. Those totals are made up of active cases, recoveries and deaths. It is unlikely that people who have recovered or died will be taking up hospital beds. We should be focused on active cases as that is where hospital admissions lurk.

From November 30 to January 27, active case numbers in Canada were reduced by 8,294. January has been spectacular, with active case reductions of 18,233. The trend is in the right direction.

In regard to active cases, the tests we are using for COVID verification are notoriously unreliable, with a high degree of false positives. On January 27, we had 761,227 confirmed COVID cases. 19,533 had died, and 683,961 had recovered, so we know the outcomes of 703,494 cases.  Of those, 97.2% recovered. The high rate of recoveries could be due to false positives.

It is difficult to understand a virus containment approach that quarantines a few million healthy people but does not protect vulnerable people in congregate settings where they cannot isolate to avoid infection.

Governments refuse to accept simple but effective solutions. They need to set standards of care for people in congregate settings (long term care and retirement facilities) and require an autopsy on any person who dies in congregate settings to establish the cause of death. The horror stories of abuse, dehydration, malnutrition and neglect would be verified, making the operator culpable or set family minds at rest.

We are to believe that COVID-19 regulations will avoid overwhelming our health care system. Our health care systems have been teetering on collapse for decades, and nothing has been done to strengthen them to deal with the inevitable health care crisis. Virus epidemics happen every decade or two, and failure to prepare is unacceptable. 

Our Members of Parliament and Members of the Legislatures must consider and mitigate business closures and quarantine economic and mental health consequences. Parochial attention to provincial COVID-19 statistics is useless. The aggregation of national data is barely adequate to measure trends. We do not have enough cases spread over enough time for statistical credibility. No computer model can change or improve that. Measuring trends with a roulette wheel would be as accurate.

The nonsense that our governments are following the science is unacceptable. They are ducking responsibility. Following one narrow scientific field is lunacy. As governments, they must consider all scientific fields, including sociology, psychiatry, economics, actuarial and behavioural sciences, amongst others. Actions have consequences which our politicians are studiously ignoring. 

The longer the COVID-19 epidemic continues, the less regulations have to do with health care and the more they have to do with politicians trying to save their skins from the mess they have created. 

The political angst over delays in acquiring COVID vaccines is due to their inability to shift all focus on immunization and putting off reckoning over the economic and human wreckage they have created.
Political integrity is dead, but we can demand honesty from our governments. They have denied us our constitutional rights for nearly a year. The opening lines of the Charter read:

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

Our governments, federal and provincial, must demonstrate to us in clear, understandable language how they justify virus regulations that infringe on our freedoms and rights for months with no end in sight. The totalitarian adventure is over.