Tuesday, November 17, 2020

The Second Wave & Human Loss


At a recent COVID-19 news conference featuring Ontario's premier, Doug Ford, and members of his cabinet CBC reporter Mike Crawley asked a pointed question. Crawley noted that recently Ford has spoken of how his "heart breaks" for small business people who may lose everything if the province moves back into strict lockdown because of the alarming rise in COVID cases. Why wasn't the premier talking about the growing number of people who have died because the virus was spreading? Ford took umbrage at this, saying he regularly phoned families who had experienced losses and was working long hours to address the resurgence of COVID.

Ford didn't really answer the question, still, I commend Crawley for asking it. The number of deaths is on the rise, but this figure is usually tacked on after the statistics about actual cases, and the press conferences certainly don't dwell on these statistics. Yet these are beloved human beings who are dying, and the majority of them are elderly and fragile. They live in institutions which are failing in providing protection in too many instances, and the proposed solutions to this tragedy are years away. 

When the first wave of COVID hit, most of us were appalled by the number of deaths in nursing homes and knew that this wasn't acceptable. Have we now decided as a society that a certain number of these losses of people who contributed to society, who love and are loved, is acceptable? Surely mentioning them on a regular basis in a public forum is one way of keeping a human face on what is transpiring. 

We know that one of the distinguishing features of the early Christian church which was an important part of its growth was compassion for the vulnerable, including the elderly. This care became a defining aspect of societies where Christianity was at the core, and even though we have become far more secular these values are still part of our ethos. Our hearts should break at the growing number of deaths, whatever the age of those who are lost. 

I'm not suggesting that Premier Ford is not a caring person as an individual,and God knows he has a tough job. We should all care about businesses which are struggling to survive. But as Premier of Ontario it is essential that he and his government regularly remind all citizens that the deaths associated with COVID-19 are more than numbers, they are cherished human beings. 

It would seem that despite the hope of vaccines we are in this for the long haul, and we must remain steadfast as a society. I'm glad that there are people such as Mike Crawley asking the challenging questions. 

                                                                              Mike Crawley


roger said...

It's a strange dynamic. Every day we hear "the numbers". One day it's 1,386 and the next day it's 1,475 and so on. I think it's easy to become desensitized to it all and forget that every day people are grieving for their loved ones who have died from this virus. And even more people are struggling in ICU's trying to beat COVID.

I guess I'm not ready to jump all over Ford quite yet. It's so difficult to have that balance of keeping citizens safe while not ruining their livelihoods. And when I look south of the border, I am so glad we have the politicians and medical experts that are taking the pandemic seriously. I have never been so thankful to be Canadian.

I still see people walking around with masks below their noses or even below their chins. I still hear about the "anti masker" parties and huge gatherings in which no one is wearing masks. I think these are the things that are keeping this pandemic going.

It's not rocket science; we've heard it so many times about what to do to prevent spreading germs or picking them up. If everyone did all of these things, as one doctor said, the virus would be dead in its tracks. No one loves wearing masks or applying sanitizer every five seconds, but if these are our greatest hardships, I'd hate to see what the whiners of the world would do if they had to deal with the horrors of war like our vets did.

The mayor of Winnipeg recently made a blunt assessment of those who are not doing their part in controlling the spread of COVID. I was almost cheering when I watched, it was so refreshing to see a politician say it like it is.

My challenge will be not to want to keep 5 metres away from everyone AFTER this pandemic is over. I was a borderline germaphobe before all of this started.

David Mundy said...

Thanks for your comments Roger.

Premier Dougie responded with what he knows best -- acting decisively in the moment - in the first months of the pandemic. The bonus was that he "played well with others", something he's not known for. He should be commended for this.

Now we need leadership for the bigger picture and I'm not sure he's up for the challenge. His government has to be consistent, follow the science, and do what is best for the long term for all of us, especially the vulnerable.

We may never shake hands with anyone else again, but that's okay.