The finger in the dike 

January 27, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

In a recent conversation with a gentleman, I made the comment on how hard it must be for small children losing two of their early years to the restrictions governments have imposed to control the spread of the deadly Covid -19.

He came back to me pretty sharply “It’s hard on everyone, to lose a couple of years of their lives,” said he. And he was right.

My favourite example of leadership bungling through all this is right at the very beginning. In March of 2020, authorities were saying that masks didn’t make any difference to the spread of Coronavirus. Yet it is an air born disease passed around by the droplets of our own body fluids. Doctors, scientists, especially virologists claimed at the same time, that masks are good to help defer the transmission of disease.

Essential, as it happens.

In May 2020, two months later, after plenty of damage had been done to both the actual spreading of infections and the erroneous story about masks not being helpful had been heard, masks were suddenly mandatory. Since then, science versus politics has been a constant pull and push on all of us, anxious to do our best to keep each other and ourselves safe.

Scientists gave advice; politicians listened to lobbyists. Small shops were closed; box stores stayed open. Those whose lives, which were ready to be shredded with the stoppage of their incomes, were supported by government until the support stopped arbitrarily in October, 2021. The problems were not resolved. Incomes were not instantly re-established after the devastation of Covid protocols, many effects of which are still in place.

It is strange how getting it wrong at the beginning can have such lasting effects. People heard at the off-set that masks are unnecessary and that false note has held fast to the point that numbers of people gather without wearing them and cases of infections soared again. I have yet to meet a mask I like wearing but I would never enter a private or business premise without wearing one: you wear a mask to protect others from yourself. See. That is why.

Stomping, slipping, getting it wrong has been the whole story of vaccine administration. We longed for the answers vaccines would provide: freedom from fear, opening our world, letting our children go to school. No such luck. Hard to imagine the kind of pressure the people developing them were under. Here in Canada on December 14, 2020 the first vaccines were administered: AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna were all ready to save us.

Once again, at the beginning, we missed the chance to quell the problem. We prevaricated and waffled. Many of us were vaccinated as soon as we could be. Others decided not to be vaccinated at all. They took the chance and Covid spread. Some folk followed protocol, only for the medicine to fail them, it is true.

We have heard the growing doubts about the vaccinations, how the number of times to receive boosters keeps growing; how a person can still contact Covid or the most recent variant, Omicron, from a vaccinated person. How being vaccinated is no longer considered a proof against infection; how too little is truly known about the long-term effects of a hastily created vaccine. If these are legitimate concerns, scientists should speak to them, not politicians.

Clarity is the finger in the dike. Clarity that is so honest and correct that it can overwhelm the nightmare of the internet to truly inform people everywhere. That needs to happen really soon for we are in danger of creating a two-tier society: of the vaccinated (whether or not it provides all the protection that it should) and the non-vaccinated, determined to have sovereignty over their own bodies.

“Be vaccinated or be terminated,” declare employers.

Clarity must be offered to us by the cool voices of scientists who can unite in their knowledge and inclination to tell the truth, no matter how indigestible it is. What we don’t need is a politician with something to gain by telling us half-truths, taking on a tyrant’s cloak, threatening us with police action if we don’t comply.

Exactly in line with the very serious climate crisis this world is facing, young people who are the first line of attack by the internet – the first to pass good or bad information around – young people are restless and depressed at their young lives – their big moments of opportunity being trashed by government waffling: open, close, sort-of open – open this but not that…at apparent random; by keeping students away from each other by constantly closing schools instead of finding a way around the difficulties. 

Yet and yet, we must do our own bit by wearing those masks, getting vaccinated if we are not taking other medication that is contraindicated. Washing and sanitizing our hands, giving strangers six feet. We have to accept our own responsibility for the containment and defeat of this plague so that we can have our lives back.

After all, there are some fairly dashing designer lines of masks.

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