Right in the centre - I think I have had enough!


By Ken Waddell

Neepawa Banner & Press

Nearly everyone has had enough of COVID-19, or C-19, as I call it. It has been nearly 18 months and hopefully we are past this horrible experience. With only 11 cases reported in Manitoba on Monday of this week, it would “appear” that we are through this pandemic.

I say “appear” because it could flare up again and I have no doubt there will be another disease that will attack our world. We should have learned that already.

In modern times there was the 1918 flu, in the 1950s there was polio. There has been several other diseases more recently like SARS, bird flu, swine flu and ebola. Some disease or another will come again.

We should have learned by now how to handle a pandemic. What could we do differently? What could we have done better? I think the biggest things we could have done better is protect our elderly better and more quickly. We should have gone into sanitizing and isolation mode much sooner in the care homes. We should have applied more common sense and allowed a limited numbers of freedoms to volunteers, family members, whoever comes in to help the over-worked care home staff and the very lonely residents. I get it, they wanted to keep C-19 out of the care homes, but the rules made no sense. Care workers, maintenance staff, health care aides, etc. all came and went home each day. The staff all intermingled with the regular population at home, at stores, wherever, but somehow, that was considered different than a daughter visiting mom and helping out at the care home. It was no different and the extreme isolation should never have happened. The many millions spent on visitor pods were a waste of money, in my view. I am also fully convinced some care home residents died of dehydration, loneliness or neglect as the whole volunteer aspect of care was wiped out overnight. It was a stupid decision, a complete over reaction without basis in science or practicality.

We should have shut down “all” flights from China right at the outset. It wasn’t racist, it was a factual need, and should have been done much sooner. Air passengers still came into Canada with all kinds of reasons and excuses. It should have been shut down. If you were out of the country when C-19 hit, get your butt home within a few days or stay where you are.

Overall, the government did a pretty good job, but now is the time to ascertain what needs to be done better. 

We needed to have tests to tell if a person has had C-19, not just if they have it. If a person has had C-19, they shouldn’t need a vaccine. Testing should have been done sooner and maybe over a wider range of people.

It will be very interesting to see how much the death rate has actually increased from C-19 over the previous year. There have been a lot of deaths for sure, but how many more than other years? We don’t know yet.

Surgeries and regular medical tests were cut back way too much. That has caused a lot of stress, lost income for health care specialist and yes, a lot of deaths. We may never know how many. When we add up the increase in deaths over a previous time frame, we will need to factor in how many lives were lost due to untreated cancer and heart attacks.

Now that we are apparently moving out of the C-19 situation, we need to look at some of the rules that are just plain silly. I am very happy that we can go to a restaurant and not have to wear a mask while eating with people from another household. I am not happy that if you go to church, you have to wear a mask all through the service– even if you are seated with only your own household and are socially distanced from other households. That makes no sense at all.

Going forward, masks will likely always be used in Canada. They have been for years in Asian countries. Hopefully, they won’t be compulsory. If you are vaccinated, why would you have to wear a mask anyway?

Hopefully there can be lots of civil discussion about how to do better next time and we can get through our next crisis with less human and financial cost.

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.