Monday, May 18, 2020

Are we ready to move past panic mode now?

Liberal progressive consumers of news have long known that it pays to be skeptial of over the top reporting.  Whether it was the Gulf of Tonkin incident in Viet Nam or the more recent wars in the Persian Gulf, with Iraq presented as a major threat to world peace and security, the media loves to play on fear.  

A lot of Canadians are scared right now, and that is understandable given the fashion in which most media outlets have been reporting on the novel coronavirus.  I've seen frequent reference to:  "The deadly coronavirus".  And over the top messaging talking about the: "Tsunami of death".  

This is beyond irresponsible, its not reporting but hyperbole on steroids.  If media outlets treated all topics this way we'd have been reading about 'Killer Peanuts' for years now.  US comedian and political commentator Bill Mahar has used the term "Panic Porn" and its very fitting.  

Let's take a calm and rationale look at some simple and easily verifiable facts instead.  

Canada is reported to have 5,842 deaths attributed to Covid-19.  Over 80% of those deaths are occuring in Long Term Care type facilities, a Washington Post article from May 18th 2020 puts it at 81% as per Canada's Chief Public Health Officer.   At 80% that would put LTC deaths at 4,673 with the remaining deaths at 1,169....and of course those numbers are going to keep climbing.  

Death is tragic at any age, but to give the reporting some perspective consider the health of people in LTC type facilities.  Here are some statistics from 2019 from the Ontario Long Term Care Association:  

  • 90% have some form of cognitive impairment
  • 86% of residents need extensive help with daily activities such as getting out of bed, eating, or toileting
  • 80% have neurological diseases
  • 76% have heart/circulation diseases
  • 64% have a diagnosis of dementia
  • 62% have musculoskeletal diseases such as arthritis and osteoporosis
  • 61% take 10 or more prescription medications
  • 40% need monitoring for an acute medical condition
  • 21% have experienced a stroke
Those wishing to verify this information, please do.  Here's the link:

Death is never anything but tragic, of that there is little argument.  But I think most would agree that the death of a young child to something like a drunk driving accident is exponentially more tragic than the death of someone over 80 years of age who suffers from alzheimers and cardivocascular diesease.  Speaking as someone who has lost both his parents as well as both the grandparents I knew about growing up, sometimes death is viewed as a relief.  Sad and depressing, but a relief all the same, both for the person suffering as well as their family. 

One of the small blessings we can be thankful for with this pandemic is that Covid-19 has not taken the lives of any Canadian children.  Hopefully that will remain true, unlike seasonal flu which can be lethal to young children.   

Death is a depressing topic....for anyone.  Canada was likely going to have somewhere around 280,000 deaths this year before this novel virus reared its ugly head, now I expect that number will be higher.  The fact is every single Canadian (as well as everyone on the planet) suffers from a terminal illness called living, and the mortality rate is 100%.  As my late beloved father told me many times:  "Nobody gets out of here alive".  

But to get back to the topic at hand, about whether we're ready to move past panic mode now.  The first question one might reasonably ask is this:  Did we panic?  

For me the answer is unquestionably yes.  How else would you describe sacrificing people in need of cardiac surgery and cancer screening?  Or how about tossing millions of Canadians out of work and into the poverty that comes from living off government assistance.  And to add insult to injury the messaging is that these people are not essential.  

I'm sorry, but this really gets under my skin....this categorization of a human being's worth based on the job they preform.  Progressive types have campaigned about this for decades, advocating for the marginalized whether they be miners, factory workers, the unemployed, underemployed or any other group that has its humanity dimished, its disgusting.  

Does any one know a single mother who supports herself and her kids by waiting on tables in a restaraunt?  I know two, serving tables is a job that often falls on women, especially those not fortunate enough to have a post secondary education.  Now, on top of being out of work and forced onto government welfare, now they're being told they're not essential.  I don't like to use profanity, but sometimes its called for.  And this is BULL SHIT!!!

Everyone is essential.  

Yes, the novel coronavirus can be deadly, but not for 99% of the population.  Canada has reported 78,702 confirmed cases as I type this, with 33,002 being current.  Every health expert and medical professional is telling us that this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.  The reason this is just a small fraction of the real total case number is that most people have only very minor symptoms or none at all, and they don't get tested. 

While Canada has not yet conducted any large scale radomized testing to get a better handle on what the actual case count is, other jurisdictions have.  Places like California, NYC and Great Britain have conducted radmoized sampling by respected academic institutions like Stanford, USC and Oxford.  Their findings suggest the real case numbers are at least 20x larger, and perhaps as much as 55x larger than what is being reported.

If Canada's true case number is 20x higher than what has been confirmed, then the real case number is around 1.5 million.  And that would mean our mortality rate is less than half of one single percent.  Its worse than seasonal flu, but not the 'at least 10x more deadly' messaging used at the start.

And for this we've thrown 3 million working Canadians under the bus, subjected many to the stress of economic uncertainty....stress that can lead to depression, alcohol and substance abuse, spousal and child abuse, suicide.  These are issues that progressives used to care about, but now some are so afraid of the mostly benign coronavirus that they've forgotten to advocate for Canada's marginalized citizens. 

And sadly it gets worse, the economic fallout of lockdown measures has the UN warning about a pending global famine that will see over 100 million more people worldwide pushed to starvation, that we'll be seeing reports of 300,000 people dying each and every day for about three months, many of them children.   

I'll have more to say later, thank you for reading.  


Anonymous said...

These randomized tests you speak of in the USA and Britain, do you know if the testing regime was carried out with proper lab tests, or with that useless test debunked by Health Canada?

You know the one - that internationally well-known epidemiologist Jason kenney of Alberta and his dumbo partner SchMoe of Saskatchewan made a fuss about getting on using it, seeing as they're smarter than Health Canada, and the results are just not reliable, it turns out.

Because it seems to me that getting accurate results is paramount before everyone starts leaping to conclusions. I am also somewhat loathe to listen to results from either the US or UK; both countries have turned out to be at the very bottom of the lists of good response to Covid-19. In the UK, there's been a war of words between the Imperial College group and the Oxford group as to how bad the pandemic would be, leading to utter confusion. I was born in Oxford and went to Imperial College, just for the record, and that has no bearing on anything but coincidence.

Using logic, it seems to me that the lockdown has helped to reduce the spread of the virus, so that it has not been as bad as the dire predictions of three months ago. Sweden is the place where lockdown measures have not occurred but common sense precautions used instead. The results so far indicate that the death rate has been much higher than Norway next door, and like here, it's the oldsters who have croaked in large numbers -- although their old folks homes aren't run like the shambles they are here. What I haven't read about is how worried the staff at Swedish retirement homes have been for their own safety.

We now have had 50% more deaths in Canada than the entire country of China has experienced! So I'm not crowing about anything.

However, I do agree with you that the public health medics seem overly zealous in wanting to cross their "t"s and dot their "i"s. In New Brunswick, PEI and NL, where there are virtually no cases whatsoever, I cannot see why they haven't opened almost all the way up already. It's ludicrous to shelter the way they're doing. I live in NS and the deaths have mostly been confined to one amateurishly run non-profit old folks home. My mother died there 6 years ago, and they didn't even insist their staff get a flu shot -- I got into a brouhaha with those twits at the time. Of course she died of something else entirely. Yet now our chief medic and the premier make excuses for the home, and it's complete nonsense.

So overall, I'm on the fence about opening up Ontario and Quebec the way they are, but their politicians seem far braver than our bunch of worrywarts in the Atlantic region. I'll know our politicians are really on the case when new inexpensive surgical masks are handed out, because there aren't any available locally I can find. I do not patronize Amazon.


Gordie Canuk said...

The tests in California and Great Britain were conducted by Stanford, USC and Oxford. I've read that there's a bit of an academic war going on between Oxford's team and the one from the Imperial College of London, especially since the ICL's report that basically justified all the lockdown measures has now been pretty much universally discredited. In the case of the USC research done in tandem with LA County's Public Health Dept, I've seen criticism of the fact that they used facebook to recruit volunteers reflective of the County's population....which I don't really me what matters is that whatever tool is used to recruit, that it results in a survey population refelective of the area's demographics.

My whole point is that we now have mountains of evidence about who is most likely to be seriously affected by Covid-19, and also for whom the virus is mostly benign. We have evidence on which to base wise decisions in other words.

Are there unknowns? Certainly there are, there are always unknows. There are things that could maybe happen. But you can't base public policies on what maybe could happen. Vancouver Island could maybe get hit with a tsunamic next week or next we evacutate everyone in Victoria because of that possibility?

We do know that poverty kills. Harvards school of public health published a report on the 2008-2010 financial crisis that concluded a minimum of 260,000 people died worldwide due just to cancer as a direct result of the global financial meltdown. The U.N. is now warning that the economic fallout of lockdown measures will cause a famine of global proportions before 2020 comes to an end with hundreds of thousands of people dying each and every day for about 3 months....and famine disproportionatley kills young children....but maybe we in mostly white Canada don't care because most of the kids dying have darker skin.

Thanks for reading and commenting, and I appreciate you being on the fence...its a confusing time. I am firmly of the opinion that we need to move faster in opening up, moving are lifeboats into the swarming mass of victims freezing in the north atlantic waters of poverty and despair....poor depressed people don't advocate for themselves, they're too busy trying to keep their heads above water.

Cheers and God bless.