Jan. 15, 2022

Pandemic numbers game does not compute

Canada documented more cases of COVID-19 during the first 40 days of the Omicron wave than it did during the entire first year of the pandemic, according to data from CTVNews.ca’s case tracker.

This would be news only if it were accurate. It is sensationalized trash.

Many provinces and Territories don’t update COVID statistics on weekends. Jan. 10 fell on a Monday, so several jurisdictions reported three-day totals, not the numbers for that day.

Total case counts are a poor metric for tracking COVID. The case counts include deceased persons. I am sure the families and loved ones of the 544 people who died from COVID during the first ten days of January are bewildered to learn that their deaths are treated by CTV news as “new infections.”

Case counts also include people who have tested positive for COVID and recovered. No doubt, the 276,984 people who recovered during the first ten days of January are delighted to know that their brush with death is treated as a new infection.

During the first ten days of January, active case counts increased by 13,423 or 32.6% of the total case increase. Active cases represent those who have tested positive for COVID and are awaiting an outcome.

Health care people are now telling us that because system elements are overwhelmed, they can’t accurately track new infections, and the actual numbers are much higher than the reported numbers. Provinces are catching up on COVID reporting.

Over the past five days, January 10 to 14, provinces have reported an increase of 180,211 total cases (misrepresented as new infections), including 530 deaths and 235,943 recoveries for a net reduction in active cases of 56,268.

Recently the Chief Medical Officer for Alberta admitted that they have been fudging ICU patient numbers. This is no surprise. Medial people try to keep ICU numbers high to avoid losing beds to administrators trying to limit costs. This happens in every jurisdiction.  
 

DID YOU NOTICE THE SHIFT


We started COVID combat to save lives. Beginning in October and increasing until today, the intent has shifted to protecting our health care systems. Provincial governments that fund health care have created huge bureaucracies to oversee health care administration that have failed us.

Measurements of hospitalization are also inaccurate. People are admitted to hospital for many illnesses and injuries. Many, but not all are COVID victims. The same goes for ICU admissions. Not everyone in an ICU is there for COVID. All deaths are not attributable to COVID.  

We do not have the infrastructure or human resource depth to deal with an epidemic. Governments move slowly as their feet are filled with lead from shooting themselves in the feet. Decades of working to minimal health care standards to save money have come home to roost.

Few people are aware of the Canadian Pandemic Influenza Plan for the Health Sectorwritten in 2006. Our government tossed it in the trash and used an unprecedented and unproven approach to combat COVID. We exist with the results in a surreal society we no longer recognize.

There is no indication that we will defeat, let alone eliminate COVID in the foreseeable future. Closing or limiting access to businesses, community and recreational facilities and places of worship are not independent; they support isolation regulations and discourage people from interacting with others.

Isolating, vilifying and demeaning the unvaccinated as the cause of failure to limit COVID spread is a despicable distraction from the failure of our institutions. Scapegoating a segment of our population to avoid political accountability is the refuge of unethical politicians.   

It is not possible to continue to isolate people as a COVID countermeasure. Extending emergency legislation month by month for 22 months is ridiculous. Extending lockdowns, venue capacity restrictions and isolation regulations for two to four weeks at a time are not viable. Governments are hoping for some natural change to covid spread instead of looking for ways to live with the threat.    

Our mental health suffers, and additions, depression, despair, fear and hopelessness are taking a toll. Development of our children is hampered. Our economy sits in ruins, and staff shortages threaten essential services. We appear to be on a dead-end highway with no off-ramps.

COVID is a wake-up call that has revealed severe deficiencies in the institutions and systems we depend upon, and we are not responding rationally or reasonably. The heart of health care is almost dead and due for a quadruple bypass operation:

  • Increase health care funding in the order of 15%. More may be required. We need to catch up on decades of governments financially starving the systems. Health care will be more expensive, but nothing near what has been spent on a failed effort to combat covid over each of the past two years;
  • Put professional administration of health care back in facilities. Medical people are not trained in administration or human resources and must stay out of the wheelhouse. Bureaucrats are even worse;
  • Provide for private delivery of health care services. That will generate mush needed private investment in land, facilities, equipment and supplies;
  • Reduce the size of government health care bureaucracies by 90%. We need to ensure billings from public and private delivery facilities match an approved fee scale adjusted to consider the costs of land, buildings, equipment, supplies and land taxes.