Right in the centre - Time to change our approach to COVID-19


By Ken Waddell

Neepawa Banner & Press

For starters, we don’t have a huge C-19 problem across all of Manitoba. We have had a problem with hotspots and those hotspots do move around. There are still some hotspots. It’s important to look at the stats and ask some tough questions. For example, why was Island Lake so high with cases a week ago (they are down some now) when they had a very high vaccination rate? Why is the RM of Stanley so low on vaccinations and yet they only have one or two cases in that district? There a lots of basic questions that we need answers for.

Here’s a list of some districts’ active cases stats in our coverage areas as of Tuesday. Whitemud (around Neepawa) has three cases although they usually only have one at a time. Little Saskatchewan had one case and Agassiz Mountain had six. Further afield, the area that gets the most criticism for not vaccinating is the RM of Stanley, which is the rural area around Morden and Winkler, but Stanley has very low numbers. Just one case as of Tuesday.

The highest number of currently active cases were in Hanover– 44, Brandon– 44, River East– 33, Steinbach– 26, Norway House– 25, Winkler– 22, The Pas/OCN/Kelsey– 21. All the other districts were below that number and many had only one case.

Perhaps the time has come for a regional approach and a better quarantine/isolation approach. If an outbreak comes up, perhaps we need to know where cases actually are so we can avoid a hotspot. While the stats seem pretty good by sub-district, they still aren’t specific enough. Perhaps it’s not possible to be more specific, but it would make for less tension and a more precise model of avoiding contact if lockdowns were stated.

Let’s evaluate the threat here. In Manitoba, we currently have zero to three deaths a day. Perhaps we should be keeping track of the number of deaths due to delayed surgeries and treatments. Is it necessary to keep the whole population on very nervous tiptoes to avoid what is a problem that could be and should be identified by severity and location? Certainly, if there were cases in a school, a hospital or a care home, even a place of business, we should be alerted about it. If a place has to have a person or two tested and isolated, so be it. We should be able to know where the enemy lurks rather than assume the enemy is rampant everywhere. Since the beginning of the pandemic in February 2020, there have been three deaths in the Whitemud sub-district that surrounds and includes Neepawa. There certainly have been a lot more deaths due to other causes in that same period and some of them were based in care home and health facilities where the death numbers were actually accelerated by C-19 rules and regulations.

The stats move around and there are some unexplainable things as mentioned above. Care homes have had the most deaths and yet the majority of care homes have had no cases at all or only a couple of cases. There are communities that have been hard hit. Maybe it’s over-crowding or maybe it’s lifestyle. I don’t know. It is obvious, for the most part, that C-19 doesn’t seem to flare up nearly as much in suburban areas, in rural farm areas and small towns. I guess, we farmers and small town people just don’t get out that much.

There are people calling again for a shut down. Some are doctors. Then there are doctors calling for opening up the huge backlog of surgeries and procedures. Reports claim that there are as many as 60,000 cancelled surgeries and procedures.

The other thing that galls me, and I have written about it several times, is that the people calling for a major shut-down are, for the most part, people who are not going to lose a dime of their income due to a shutdown. We have professors, politicians, political scientists and a whole bunch of fairly well paid people crying for shutdowns, but it will cost them nothing. Remember when you hear a message that doesn’t seem quite right, always ask how they are being paid. Follow the money. The railing is often louder than the truth.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this column are the writer’s personal views and are not to be taken as being the view of the Banner & Press staff.