Right in the Centre - It should never happen again!


By Ken Waddell

Neepawa Banner & Press

COVID-19 was among the worst diseases to hit Canada in the past 100 years or more. In my opinion, it was handled worse than any previous disease. I won’t argue that vaccines were wrong, although there is a lot of evidence that the benefits of vaccines were highly over-promoted. I would daresay that vaccines should not have been compulsory and there are those who will vehemently disagree with me. It’s just that, in general terms, I am very wary of anything being compulsory. There were people who didn’t get vaccinated who died from C-19 but there were a lot of people who didn’t get vaccinated who didn’t even get sick. There were people who had two, three or four vaccine shots and they got C-19 and some of them died.

All that said, my biggest complaint is the absurd way sick people were handled, especially those in hospitals and care homes.

There were many, many people who were desperately sick and many who died, who were denied the comfort and care of loved ones in their last days. Think about how absurd this was. A person is sick and dying in care and some crazy rules about restricting loved ones was supposed to protect whom? A loved one not being allowed to come in and visit was somehow supposed to protect the sick person. How was that supposed to work?

Think about it. The care home and hospital workers all came to work, did their job, albeit under very tough conditions, and then went home. The workers lived with their families who, to some extent, were out and about in the community, presumably had close contact with spouses and kids and came back to work the next day. Like that wasn’t supposed to spread C-19? And yet, a family member visiting a sick and dying person would spread C-19. The visitation rules were insane, stupidly applied and at the very worst, cruel. 

What clearly happened is that rules were made by people with little or no knowledge of reality. It was like a lot of other issues in running a country or society. The farther away from the community reality a decision is made, the worse the decision you get. Some people were running scared and combined with not actually thinking it through and not being on the front lines made for bad policy decisions. I believe that while vaccines may well have saved a lot of lives, the visitation rules may well have killed a lot of people too.

Let me give a totally unrelated example that has some application to decision making. During WWI, the Allied armies were still using cavalry horse mounted divisions. My understanding of cavalry warfare is that it was obsolete by the time of WWI but that message didn’t get through to the British generals. A cavalry charge was an awesome thing when the mounted soldiers were carrying pistols, wielding swords and running up against ground troops who had single shot rifles that were slow to re-load. By the time of WWI, the ground troops were well dug in and had machine guns, backed up by artillery. One day, the British generals decided that that the Canadian Cavalry should charge the German trenches. Needless to say, they were cut to pieces with huge losses of men and horses. A few days later, the British generals decided they should try it again because, “They will never suspect we would try it again.” The Canadian commander, who had lost many men and horses said, “That’s a great idea sir, but this time, we will use British troops.” Needless to say the plan was called off. The moral of that story is decisions are best made by those most closely affected by the decision. In the C-19 situation, visitation decisions were being made by people who didn’t have to deal wit the unfavourable results.

Just like in WWI, decisions are best made in any situation by those most affected by the decision. That’s why Neepawa decisions should be made in Neepawa, Rivers decisions in Rivers and you can fit any other community name you want into that statement.

C-19 decision making drifted far away from those most affected by the decisions and we must make sure that never happens again.

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.