Criticizing covid19 countermeasures should have a test applied

In order for you to have a valid argument to make on covid19 countermeasures, you first have to accept that covid19 is real and deadly; that it’s a dangerous pandemic that must be met with all available measures to mitigate loss of life as best we know how. Because for you do deny the science or medical information that validates the existence of covid19 puts you on the opposite side of every medical community member on earth.

Imagine if you will, that there is a bridge off in the distance. Its old and some say it should be replaced or repaired – at high cost. In doing so, there will be disruptive traffic pattern changes and detours; nobody would enjoy those measures at all. But it needs to be done if the old bridge is to be dealt with.

So you hire some 10 structural engineers to evaluate the true state of the bridge and determine the best plan forward.

Nine of them conclude that the bridge has between 6-9 years of safe usage left before its unsafe to use if nothing changes, that it might collapse and kill anyone on the bridge deck at the time. Those nine recommend a mix of replacement and (major) repairs to upgrade the safety levels to an acceptable level.

One says that everything is fine. You’ve got many decades of safe usage ahead.

Who do you listen to?

In the case of covid19, there is virtually no disagreement in the scientific and medical community that the ailment is deadly and needs to be dealt with quickly. But its not unanimous. There hold outs who argue a variety conspiracy theories that covid19 is fake. This segment is less than 1% of the medical/scientific community. Or, less than one of a one hundred structural engineers in our above scenario.

Now, its fair to argue that one jurisdiction’s pandemic countermeasures are insufficient to whatever degree your expertise level can speak with any authority on. Or blow out some opinion on how you think your government has failed you. Cool, that’s your opinion. But you must first agree that covid19 is real and a lot of people are going to die (…already have died) if we don’t act – or slacken our efforts prematurely.

But if you’re going to argue that covid19 is fake and that everyone should just flout the emergency rules because of a bonkers conspiracy theory, then I have zero problems with the state answering your misinformation with fines or worse. Because what you offer isn’t an opinion, its foisting a dangerous advocacy to break laws no different than yelling ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre. Your calls to break rules could get people killed.

Paid sick leave isn’t urgent because its a contest to see who can deliver it first, its urgent because its necessary and right.

There seems to be a rush to claim credit for a program nobody can figure out how its paid for or who’s jurisdiction it is. If you came to me for that answer, sorry, I don’t have it. But what I do have is an idea that might work – if politicians are ready to put aside partisan differences and work across jurisdictional boundaries.

Healthcare is a shared jurisdiction. Labour laws are provincial (in industries that are provincially regulated). Unemployment benefits are federal. Surely there’s enough room to slap together something that can the provinces can deliver that the federal government can pay for. It needs to be a national program though; and spare me the provincial rights lecture. It needs to be federal because at that level, it has national implications that no matter where you live, you can take a day off, sick, and not worry so much about paying rent or groceries. More to the point, the pressure to come to work – risking the health of your co-workers, eases off. The current discourse today is centered around the covid19 pandemic, but this is not the only reason to talk about it.

Yes, there is medical EI – those who lose their work for extended time and apply for EI benefits. But there’s no program for those who lose a day’s pay for a rotten cold, or a flu which wouldn’t ordinarily trigger medical EI. That’s where paid sick leave comes in.

BC has done more and accommodated more than any provincial jurisdiction in Canada; and they’re being torn apart for not making any allowance for paid sick leave. Maybe that’s a bridge too far, financially. BC doesn’t have its own currency and cannot print cash – MMT isn’t possible for a subordinate jurisdiction like a province or an American state. The potential costs for such a program would be pricey, but thankfully the EI fund runs at a surplus – when the federal govt isn’t raiding its funds.

EI is how we pay for it, provincial workers compensation departments are how its distributed so that front line workers in any location never have to worry about going broke because they’re sick.

All that’s left is the political will to get it done.

We’re waiting.

my2bits

The last mile is the hardest.

We have gone from zero to deploying millions of vaccines in a global pandemic in less than two years. Nobody assumed that everything would perfectly go to plan, nor that the plans were perfect.

This has been quite a difficult journey and a lot of good people lost their lives as a result.

But if you had told me a few years ago that we would go from discovery to mass vaccination campaigns in less than two years, I wouldn’t have believed you.

So here we are. Thanks to the sacrifice of thousands of front line trades, essential service workers and first responders. We’re climbing out of a global pandemic in relatively quick order.

But we’re not there yet. Every countermeasure enacted upon by emergency order through the authorities counts on us doing what is required of us – regardless of it’s inconvenience.

Nobody is enjoying themselves here and we all want to live normally again. But these measures, however imperfect as they may be, are essential to getting to the other side of this.

So every time someone decides on their own that they’re done with covid19 and fling reason and common sense aside for self interest is another crack in our defences.

Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy, and nobody likes to shame or ridicule another for their beliefs. But for this to work and cross that line at the end, we must continue this marathon slog to get there.

I’m tired of covid19 too. But covid19 doesn’t care what I think. If I am careless and selfish with my actions, I risk the lives of my crewmates at work, strangers around town, or the lives of those at home, and that is a price I am not willing to take.

Its a mask. I’ll wear it. Its a vaccine, I’ll take whatever is offered to me. I’ll do what it takes to go that last mile; to establish that herd immunity so that covid19 has no place left to go.

There will be plenty of time to digest how this all played out. Things that worked well, things that didn’t. Now is not the time to pander, play politics, or undermine the hard work and sacrifice of those who have given so much.

We’re almost through this. Don’t drop the ball now folks.

my2bits