The costs of flattening the curve

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laine lowe laine lowe's picture

Do you think people will be partying like usual. I figure things are going to get stricter before the end of September or October. Just look at Ontario and Quebec. In our home, we have with our team mates cancelled participation in fall/winter team activities. It sucks big time but keeping ourselves safe and just as importantly, keeping our friends and clients safe is paramount. The solution to festive season drunk driving is to freaking make it clear that holiday making at bars, restaurants or private residences is off the table.

Aristotleded24

Maybe not parties like before, but knowing how human nature is, some parties are bound to happen. If they do, I think it's important that people go home safely. It's quite possible that they would not have had any volunteers and would have had to cancel the service anyways, but I would have preferred they at least tried and then gave people the choice about how comfortable they were volunteering or not volunteering to drive people home.

Restaurants and bars will fall under public health orders, so whatever restrictions are in place will likely have an impact there. I'm absolutely not okay with any restrictions or bans on parties in private homes beyond already existing things like noise bylaws. For one, I don't think many people hosting parties in their homes or people attending them will be in the high risk age demographic. I also think most people in contact with vulnerable people will take that into account and not host or attend parties anyways. Even if such a law was in place, I think the police have better and more pressing things to do than restricting what people do in their own homes.

I remember Operation Red Nose talking to my high school class and saying that if any of us ever needed a ride home, they would provide the service without lecturing. Underage drinking is actually against the law, and it shouldn't happen, but if it does, it's important that people are home safe. I think the same principle should apply if any house parties take place this year. Maybe technically people shouldn't party at home this year, but if they do, I'd rather they have a chance to make it home safely. If the volunteers are comfortable providing the service, I don't see why they shouldn't be allowed to.

Brent Roussin came up with a ridiculous prediction of 6250 Manitobans infected with covid by mid-March 2021. Even if that does come to pass, that is less than 1% of the population infected over the course of a year. Yes, take some precautions, but I don't see any rational reason to drastically rearrange everything around that possibility, especially if doing so can have a negative impact on health or safety in other areas, such as people at house parties having one less option to arrive home without driving, or cramming school loading zones with more buses and exposing children to that particular hazard on a daily basis.

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

I don't see it the same way at all. I do not think that there is a mass over-reaction by government officials and the fact that there is a balancing act in play that is causing billions of dollars in lost revenues and re-investments to public health and education is an indicator that this not just an exagerated influenza season. Neither HINI nor SARS caused this kind of disruption so even when you throw out your statistics, they offer no comfort as to the relative safety of going on with life, business as usual.

Aristotleded24

So when you say parties in private residences are off the table, what do you think should happen with that? Does that mean it becomes against the law that anyone has a private party in his or her house? Do public health officials send out messages that private parties shouldn't happen? What if someone has friends and family over and has a party, despite the pandemic? What should happen in that particular situation?

I don't want to put words in your mouth or accuse you of saying something you didn't actually mean, but I did read things into that post that I found really disturbing, and I would like to understand what exactly you meant by that.

Bacchus

Well in Ontario it would mean a $100,000 fine to the host and a grand to each attendant at said party over 10 people

Aristotleded24

Bacchus wrote:
Well in Ontario it would mean a $100,000 fine to the host and a grand to each attendant at said party over 10 people

So if I host a private party for 20 at my place in Ontario and am caught, I am hit with a $100 000 fine. Am I understanding that correctly?

I just can't support that at all, covid or no covid. That will generate a great amount of resentment, plus also pit people against each other with accusations that they don't care about elderly people. What if someone caught hosting a party has his or her house vandalized or starts receiving actual death threats? In this climate, I don't think that's an exaggerated possibility at all. Furthermore, think of the resources that would be required to enforce this and police what happens at private homes. Is that really where we want to pour our resources just when issues of funding for police and law enforcement are coming under scrutiny? Why not instead use those resources on elder care facilities to protect the residents or allow shelters to safely accomodate more people? That would do so much more.

There is something else going on. We're telling average people that they can't have private parties in their own residences in order to keep everyone safe. Suppose this average person also works in a meat plant, this person's union says the plant is unsafe and needs to be shut down, and the government shrugs and the plant is allowed to continue to operate. Anyone see the hypocrisy here, or why people would believe these measures are more about control and coercion than actual public safety? The media loves to focus on parties because it's low-hanging fruit, they don't have to do much work, just say "people are having parties" and everyone gets upset and angry and ratings go up. Why can't we see the bigger picture at play?

By the way, even if you can legally host a party of 10, you still have the practical problem of making sure they arrive home safely.

Bacchus

Cars with american plates vandalize? People with accents abuse or told to go home (american or asian accents)?

Its already pitting people against each other and you can guarantee if you do have a party, your neighbours will turn you in so you and your guests can enjoy the pain if fines and in some jurisdictions jail time which will invalidate your ability to pass a background check and make you lose your job if it requires regular background checks (a friend who works for TCH revealed that)

Aristotleded24

What if someone whose life has been ruined after hosting a party decides (s)he has nothing left to lose and then retaliates against those neighbours?

Honestly, I think that's crazy, and it undermines social cohesion. Fines and penalties are one thing, but I am absolutely disgusted that government and health officials with their messaging created this kind of environment where people will turn on each other over simple things like parties in private residences. And that still leaves the problem of resource allocation for enforcement. Let's say the police receive a call about a robbery and a private party in progress, and they can only attend to one of them. Which one should they go to? The police already make decisions about what to seriously investigate. That's why if you come home from work and find your place broken into, the police rarely do anything beyond coming over and taking a statement (if that even) because their chances of catching those responsible are slim to none. Even traffic enforcement generates resentment from some people, despite the fact that most people are more likely to be killed in a traffic accident than they are to be murdered. Can you imagine the resentment people victimized by things like robberies or break ins without a break in the case would feel about police going after parties?

Aristotleded24

Sorry, I just had to respond to this as well:

laine lowe wrote:
I don't see it the same way at all. I do not think that there is a mass over-reaction by government officials and the fact that there is a balancing act in play that is causing billions of dollars in lost revenues and re-investments to public health and education is an indicator that this not just an exagerated influenza season. Neither HINI nor SARS caused this kind of disruption so even when you throw out your statistics, they offer no comfort as to the relative safety of going on with life, business as usual.

What do you mean by cold comfort? I thought a key aspect of scientific reasoning and analysis was supposed to be based on verifiable and empirical data. Governments have routinely over-reacted to threats that turn out to be not so dangerous, while at the same time not acting on things that are. Why are statistics all of a sudden irrelevant in this particular conversation?

Pondering

What if someone whose life has been ruined after hosting a party decides (s)he has nothing left to lose and then retaliates against those neighbours?

What if someone's teenager dies from Covid because a friend's parents decided to have a party? What if they grab a gun and go on a killing spree because of it?

I have a saying that there are two viruses at work during this pandemic: one is COVID-19 and the other is physical distancing. Both can kill us.

The above was written in reference to people being barred from visiting family in longterm care centres.  The rationale given was to protect residents but minimal thought lead me to the conclusion that they were trying to keep the virus in not out. That is why they continued allowing workers to work in multiple homes which seems to have been the main form of transmission.

It isn't physical distancing that is a problem it is the manner in which it is applied. If we recognize the real motivation we can argue that particular measures are counter-productive or unnecessary or inappropriate given the circumstances. 

In the case of homes the primary problem was a shortage of PPEs and limited understanding on how to prevent spread.

As our understanding grows and a ramp up in PPEs should allow us to be less draconian in homes for the elderly.

For economic reasons the government is trying to stay as open as possible while still avoiding a major second wave. That is why the schools are opening. People can't go back to work without babysitters. It has nothing to do with the well-being of students. The government knew the real argument wouldn't be acceptable so they looked at all the other reasons children should be back at school and used that reasoning.

Which, by the way, is what I recommend "the left" does. Find the arguments that work rather than focusing on being "right".

 

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

Statistics are a valuable tool for science and policy making - no doubt about it. But misusing or misquoting stats does not provide much guidance and can be misleading. It's like simply taking rates of death and say "accidental death" is far more prevalent than death by "cancer" or "heart disease". Do you sacrifice funding for research, policies and services to reduce the rates of one high cause of death at the expense of another?

There are also more complex variable analysis involved in determining how population spread of an infectious disease will turn out. You keep saying that as a percentage of the population, those who die from COVID-19 represent a small sample of the population and are predominantly the elderly. The stats of deaths by age cohorts have not been published for this pandemic that I have seen - it is just an assumption based on evidence of past influenza stats and what age cohorts are most negatively impacted. The rate of spread from the first reporting of cases in BC back in February to when the WHO officially announced that it was a worldwide pandemic exploded - from less than a dozen to hundreds in various provinces. Watching the interactive online online world maps at the start of the pandemic really illustrated how astonishingly fast things went from just a few cases here and there to hundreds of thousands of cases in many countries.

kropotkin1951

Negligence is negligence and our normal tort laws apply, besides for any legislation passed specifically for COVID. If they do good tracing and it is found that your party caused the spread, all those down stream of your party would be able to sue you. The question for the court is would a "reasonable person" put others at risk by hosting a party when the public health officials say it is dangerous.

Negligence expanded significantly in the 20th century and now covers a wide range of accidents. Bar owners, for example, can be held liable if they fail to ensure that their intoxicated customers take reasonable care when going home. Drivers can be held responsible if they do not ensure that the occupants of their cars are wearing seat belts, or if they allow incompetent persons to drive their cars.Courts are reluctant, however, to hold public authorities liable for their negligent decisions, as opposed to their negligent acts. It is felt best that decisions which raise core policy issues involving the exercise of political discretion be left to elected officials, and not be second guessed by the courts.

https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/torts

Aristotleded24

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Negligence is negligence and our normal tort laws apply, besides for any legislation passed specifically for COVID. If they do good tracing and it is found that your party caused the spread, all those down stream of your party would be able to sue you. The question for the court is would a "reasonable person" put others at risk by hosting a party when the public health officials say it is dangerous.

Negligence expanded significantly in the 20th century and now covers a wide range of accidents. Bar owners, for example, can be held liable if they fail to ensure that their intoxicated customers take reasonable care when going home. Drivers can be held responsible if they do not ensure that the occupants of their cars are wearing seat belts, or if they allow incompetent persons to drive their cars.Courts are reluctant, however, to hold public authorities liable for their negligent decisions, as opposed to their negligent acts. It is felt best that decisions which raise core policy issues involving the exercise of political discretion be left to elected officials, and not be second guessed by the courts.

https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/torts

So they would go after an individual who hosted a party? How about the people who were downstream from the covid spread that happened in Brooks earlier this year? When is that lawsuit going to be filed? Situations like what happened in Brooks where large numbers of people were infected because the workplace was unsafe scare me much more than people who host house parties.

kropotkin1951

Yes negligence law is real and it is in fact a government plot given it is applied through our courts. I have no idea when someone will file a law suit however you should realize that our Workers Compensation regime is actually an employers' insurance scheme that shields them from being sued for negligence.  In BC they added a section that allows a third party to sue an employer and workers for negligence, in some circumstances, but that is not universal across the country.

Aristotleded24

kropotkin1951 wrote:
Yes negligence law is real and it is in fact a government plot given it is applied through our courts. I have no idea when someone will file a law suit however you should realize that our Workers Compensation regime is actually an employers' insurance scheme that shields them from being sued for negligence.  In BC they added a section that allows a third party to sue an employer and workers for negligence, in some circumstances, but that is not universal across the country.

If that's the way that works, then perhaps those workers should be able to claim compensation for getting sick at work and then raise the employer's premiums to cover that extra cost.

Bacchus

Which the emplyers will then apply to wages to recoup it

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Here in Quebec we cannot go into any public space (indoors) without a mask. Pretty much has been that way since the beginning of summer.

What is infuriating me is that all through this Legault has met and worked primarily with Doug Ford.

OK.

Now he's meeting witrh Erin the....I mean O' Toole. Leader of the federal opposition.

Does Legault not realize that Ottawa has been buttering Quebec's bread for the last 6 months?

I don't think Legault has met with the Prime Minister at all since being elected. The Liberals have been keeping personal debt on hold so we all can eat and pay our bills.

Legault owes the feds. He's making me very angry...just another what? 4 years? YIPPIE!

Aristotleded24

laine lowe wrote:
Statistics are a valuable tool for science and policy making - no doubt about it. But misusing or misquoting stats does not provide much guidance and can be misleading. It's like simply taking rates of death and say "accidental death" is far more prevalent than death by "cancer" or "heart disease". Do you sacrifice funding for research, policies and services to reduce the rates of one high cause of death at the expense of another?

No, but I would argue that our response to covid so far has been doing exactly that: focusing on the dangers of corona at the expense of everything else. Far-reaching decisions can have long-standing reverberations across other areas, and we need to look at the big picture. Take the school bus example that I've been talking about. Having full school buses is a risk for transmission of covid. If you reduce capacity and have to crowd more school buses and more parents driving in the loading zones, that is a safety hazard as well. So there is no safe option for transporting children to school. Just big risks either way, so you have to look at all the risks and then decide which one is more pressing to respond to. Maybe taking all things into account, someone may decide, "we've looked at the risks of all our options, and we feel right now the least risky path forward is for lower capacity on school buses." I disagree with that, but it is a more honest and full appraisal than simply saying, "we need more buses to transport children because that will keep them safe."

laine lowe wrote:
You keep saying that as a percentage of the population, those who die from COVID-19 represent a small sample of the population and are predominantly the elderly. The stats of deaths by age cohorts have not been published for this pandemic that I have seen - it is just an assumption based on evidence of past influenza stats and what age cohorts are most negatively impacted.

I'll concede that point. We definitely need to learn more about the long-term impacts of covid, who is at risk of serious complications, any intervention strategies to reduce the likelihood of that kind of outcome, and, as a last resort, how to manage long-term health impacts.

I will say this is a moment to capitalize and to try to really bury the austerity agenda during this crisis. If health care systems are so stretched that the only way to deal with an anticipated surge of sick people is to cancel surgeries and procedures, then maybe the system doesn't have the resources it needs in the first place.

laine lowe wrote:
The rate of spread from the first reporting of cases in BC back in February to when the WHO officially announced that it was a worldwide pandemic exploded - from less than a dozen to hundreds in various provinces. Watching the interactive online online world maps at the start of the pandemic really illustrated how astonishingly fast things went from just a few cases here and there to hundreds of thousands of cases in many countries.

Sure, it is frightening to watch case numbers grow. Was the number of tests done at the time expanding, or were more tests coming back positive from the same number of tests performed in the early days? Were they connected to the numbers connected to the original outbreak in December, or had there been background covid spread months before China picked it up and reported it to the WHO? Some may say we don't have enough testing capacity, but we are running more tests now than we were before, so that will be somewhat reflected in the numbers. That said, trends in new cases have at times gone up and at times have gone down. Going up is certainly more scary, but for the most part, that trend itself has not been even.

What really frustrates me is the excessive focus on individual behaviours to the point that we are looking over our own shoulders or everyone else's and missing the bigger picture. I'll take, at face value, the idea that someone gathering a few friends for a party that lasts a few hours is so dangerous that it should not happen. How about migrant workers living in crowded conditions, exposing themselves to the virus day in and day out who have to share their place with their elderly parents? That doesn't sound safe to me at all. Doug Ford is grandstanding about how dangerous it is to host parties? Has he said anything about building safe, affordable housing for low-income earners? Most people hospitalized for covid in the first wave in New York caught the virus from someone they lived with. Or take the issue of employers requiring sick notes, with workers experiencing cold and flu-like symptoms needlessly going to doctor's offices and possibly spreading their germs to someone whose immune system is compromised? Has any provincial government stepped up and said they are going to ban the practice of employers requring sick notes from their employees for minor illnesses? Going further on the idea of safety in the workplace, how about more union organizing and labour rights? That gives workers more of a say in their workplaces. Stronger unions mean meat plant workers can be protected in the event of a disease outbreak. It can also mean that bar and restaurant staff don't have to go to work sick and cough and sneeze all over the food either because their employers are stingy about granting sick time, or they don't even have sick pay. The worst that happens to me if I have to call in sick is I have a cold for one day, I get over it, and move on. Others are not so lucky. A flu can easily take you out for a week. How many people can afford to lose a week's worth of pay to get better? Stronger union rights allows workers to negotiate for these better benefits. Or how about community economic development? The pandemic spread through the cities. What about rebalancing our economic development so that small to mid-sized communities are viable places to live, so people don't feel the need to move in large numbers to cities for economic survival? How about other countries? Iran was one of the first major hotspots, and has never cooled off at all. Do American sanctions have anything to do with that?

There are some very obvious points of disagreement between myself and the rest of the community on the covid response. But I've just outlined some "big picture" ideas that I feel are not receiving enough attention in the mainstream and would have a huge impact not only to reduce covid spread but would improve public health as well. I would hope that maybe there would be some agreement around the benefit of these (and more) big-picture ideas that I've outlined. That feels to me like it would be a far more fruitful and productive discussion than arguing about whether certain restrictions are unreasonable.

Pondering

There is a big focus on the homeless and affordable and social housing in Montreal. There have also been open debates about improving the health care system.

On this site and in many articles I have read the impact of poverty on who is catching covid is frequent. The plans are to concentrate testing in the areas where people are more vulnerable and at hot spots.

This board regularly decries the conditions of temporary workers and support more spending on the health care system. Pharmacare has been in the news and on the minds of many people.

I have read multiple articles arguing that Covid has revealed the need for better social programs.

None of that precludes our support for measures to stop the spread of the disease. You have been using the negative impact on various populations as a reason for lifting Covid 19 restrictions.

You are against all mandatory measures put in place to control Covid-19 and have suggested that they are just a power grab. You constantly argue against lockdowns citing situations that don't exist here in your attempt to prove that lockdowns are unnecessary and that even mass events should go ahead along with weddings etc.

The accepted wisdom right now, world wide, supported by infectious disease scientists, is that COVID-19 is highly contagious and that the only way to stop it is to minimize breathing the air of as many people as possible. That means social distancing and wearing masks.

Your arguments that these measures are over-kill or shouldn't be mandatory undermine respect for science.

Preventing the spread of Covid 19 depends on the public buying in on mask wearing and social distancing.

No arguments against those actions should be permitted on babble while Covid is still spreading because they are regressive arguments that endanger public health. We shouldn't have to repeatedly deal with this on a progressive board. Arguing against health measures supported by science belong on a conspiracy theory website not here.

eastnoireast

ah, "science".   that monolithic, shimmering pure truth; unsullied by the earthly bounds of politics, bias, capitalism, or stupidity.

Mobo2000

Yeah I find this logic terrifying, and unfortunately too common on the left:    

"Your arguments that these measures are over-kill or shouldn't be mandatory undermine respect for science....  No arguments against those actions should be permitted on babble while Covid is still spreading because they are regressive arguments that endanger public health."

Aristotle's pulpit is not taller than any one else's here and we should assume babblers are adults who can decide on the merits of arguments themselves.   If folks want a curated space that keeps to mainstream views, there's always facebook.   

Pondering

It's not about mainstream views it's about public health. You know, lives.  It's not just about who is reading it. 

This is not a site to argue that climate change is a hoax. We just shouldn't need to prove that climate change is real on a progressive site. 

To argue against specific measures, or the manner in which they are applied, to argue that some are too strict, or ineffective, is valid. 

To argue that masks shouldn't be manditory or that social distancing is unnecessary is irresponsible because our healthcare system remains fragile. We haven't caught up on treatments that were delayed and health care workers are leaving. Numbers are rising across Canada and the world. 

Arguing against all measures against Covid-19 is no different than arging people ought to try drinking bleach as a cure. 

 

eastnoireast

Pondering wrote:

It's not about mainstream views it's about public health. You know, lives.

-

To argue against specific measures, or the manner in which they are applied, to argue that some are too strict, or ineffective, is valid. 

we are discussing mainstream views on public health, specifically "the costs" of a particular pillar of current mainstream public health policy, namely, "flattening the curve". 

mandatory masking and social distancing are cornerstone of this policy.

but you want even discussing it, policed and banned. 

so obviously, it needs to be discussed.

lives are at stake.

Aristotleded24

Pondering wrote:
This is not a site to argue that climate change is a hoax. We just shouldn't need to prove that climate change is real on a progressive site.

Climate change is backed up by decades of research, data and observations. Covid has only been with us for less than a year by any standard. There is still much more we are learning about this.

Pondering wrote:
It's not about mainstream views it's about public health. You know, lives.  It's not just about who is reading it.

And that is exactly what I'm talking about as well, public health.

Pondering wrote:
Arguing against all measures against Covid-19 is no different than arging people ought to try drinking bleach as a cure.

Complete straw man.

Aristotleded24

Mobo2000 wrote:
Yeah I find this logic terrifying, and unfortunately too common on the left:    

"Your arguments that these measures are over-kill or shouldn't be mandatory undermine respect for science....  No arguments against those actions should be permitted on babble while Covid is still spreading because they are regressive arguments that endanger public health."

Aristotle's pulpit is not taller than any one else's here and we should assume babblers are adults who can decide on the merits of arguments themselves.   If folks want a curated space that keeps to mainstream views, there's always facebook.

Exactly. It's very frightening to see medical doctors who question these measures not just being challenged, but being viciously attacked and being accused of putting lives on the line. Is that angry, vicious reaction an indication that the pro-lockdown folks aren't as secure in their positions as they think they are? Let's take a look at the behaviour I have seen in both camps. We can agree upfront that Fox News and many of the lockdown protesters in the United States are being irresponsible, are totally downplaying the dangers of covid, and they have no empathy or thought for those who are vulnerable. The doctors and scientists who question lockdowns I find to be well-spoken, knowledgable, compassionate, empathetic, humble, and willing to learn from and admit mistakes. Even the Swedish government admitted that their covid mitigation plan caused too many deaths. I have not seen any such humility among the scientists and people who support lockdowns at all. All I see is a dogmatic insistence that we are right, the lockdowns were necessary to stop the virus. No room for questioning if the assumptions driving the response were even valid, or if there was evidence at the time that the threat was exaggerated. No acknowledgement of the negative impacts of the lockdowns, or even outright dismissal of the possibility of them causing real harm. I thought the whole thing of science was the commitment to expand knowledge. There are a few things (climate change, gravity) that are pretty set in stone with the data we have. Much of the rest is open to scrutiny and uncertainty. Since when is bullying an acceptable part of scientific discourse?

Aristotleded24

Let's talk more about the lockdowns and the covid restrictions. Not all people were impacted equally, and we need to acknowledge that. Who did the lockdown work for? It worked for people with incomes not interrupted by the shutdown, people who were happily married and had their own families and their own houses, people who had well-defined social circles, people who had friends and family members who would call to check on them and do errands if need be, and even people who spend lots of free time on the computer (perhaps making YouTube videos for money). People who were single and living on their own, not part of any defined social bubble, had to go on CERB to maintain their income, children and people trapped in physically violent home situations, people with special needs (perhaps you had a child with a muscle condition that was greatly helped by swimming in a community pool, or perhaps you yourself had physical challenges and the gym you regularly go to was equipped to help you do the necessary exercises) the urban poor who rely on community drop-ins for socialization, the urban poor who rely on the generosity of professionals, restaurant-goers, and sports and concert fans to give money in the cap, children living in poverty who relied on school breakfast and lunch programs for food, people whose education was interrupted or people who had post-secondary practicums delayed or even cancelled, and people who used dangerous drugs for coping with life were all thrown under the bus by the covid response. That is a large amount of carnage, emotional pain, and even loss of life that is very real even if it didn't make the news. None of this resonates with the pro-lockdown crowd because by and large, they are not the ones experiencing the negative impact of this, and I feel like I'm hitting a brick wall trying to explain that there are actual negative impacts of this response that affect real people. Yet in spite of this response, we still had covid outbreaks in senior care facilities, jails and prisons, and meat-packing plants. All of these outbreaks were preventable with proper procedures in place, and yet those procedures did not happen. And even if we lock down again, guess where more outbreaks are going to happen. They are going to happen in those exact same places. So big decisions with large-scale impacts are being made, impacts that will be felt long after the pandemic ends (and in spite of the fear-mongering in the media, the pandemic will end at some point) when we could have taken more targeted steps where the virus was actually a present threat.

Finally, I want to address the concerns that many people have about keeping everyone safe. I'm sorry to have to say this, but except in rare cases, true safety is an illusion. Most times, there is never anything that is truly safe. What we have, are risks that vary by magnitude, and we have to act based on whichever collective risks are going to do the least amount of harm.

Aristotleded24

eastnoireast wrote:

Pondering wrote:

It's not about mainstream views it's about public health. You know, lives.

-

To argue against specific measures, or the manner in which they are applied, to argue that some are too strict, or ineffective, is valid. 

we are discussing mainstream views on public health, specifically "the costs" of a particular pillar of current mainstream public health policy, namely, "flattening the curve". 

mandatory masking and social distancing are cornerstone of this policy.

but you want even discussing it, policed and banned. 

so obviously, it needs to be discussed.

lives are at stake.

I totally agree. Of all the measures taken to fight the pandemic, wearing masks is the least intrusive on personal freedoms and the least disruptive to daily life of all of them. Yet the messaging from health officials is not consistent. Western Manitoba was hit with a mask mandate in its latest outbreak, only to have it rescinded once the outbreak faded. Winnipeg is currently experiencing a massive rise in cases, and still no mask mandate. Why? If they work so well, why not mandate everybody wear them? That would simplify things greatly. Life could continue to go on, cases would start falling, and this thing would be over quickly.

Aristotleded24

Loneliness kills too:

Quote:
A Saskatoon woman is reminding people to check on their loved ones during the pandemic — especially those living at long-term care homes.

Donna Hunchak’s 84-year father died on Aug. 12 after going months without seeing his family during lockdown.

“We were limited in the beginning and I understand why — it was to keep everyone safe. But it was just too much for him. He’s a family guy. He needs companionship and family around him,” Hunchak said.

She said her father, Alfred Schmidt, did not have COVID-19 but feels his death was the result of loneliness and sadness he experienced during lockdown.

At the time, he was living at Sherbrooke Community Centre in Saskatoon. His family wasn’t able to visit for about two months due to provincial health and safety restrictions.

Hunchak said while she and her family did phone and video calls with him, it still took a toll.

“Once I was able to see him, you could see that he was starting to lose a lot of weight and getting very thin and frail and just generally very disoriented and confused,” she said.

Pondering

If they work so well, why not mandate everybody wear them? 

Because people scream about the infringement on their freedoms. 

As Quebec braces for a second wave of COVID-19 cases, the province's health-care system has lost hundreds of nurses who have quit the profession in the past six months.

A Radio-Canada analysis has found that more than 1,700 nurses working for 13 of the province's regional health boards left their jobs between mid-March and August. That's compared to around 1,300 during the same period in 2019. 

At least 11 of those establishments saw more nurses leave their jobs compared to the same period last year. 

The CISSS Laval saw a 52-per-cent increase in nurses who left their jobs. For the CIUSSS Ouest-de-l'Île-de-Montréal, that number is 17 per cent. At the CIUSSS Mauricie-et-Centre-du-Québec, 247 nurses left their jobs, an increase of 72 per cent.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/nurses-quitting-covid-19-1.57258...'s%20nurses%20quit%20their%20jobs%20in%20first%206,between%20mid%2DMarch%20and%20August.

And you think rock concerts and festivals ought to go ahead. You have zero regard for our health care workers. 

VANCOUVER -- Health-care workers in Canada made up about 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections as of late July, a figure that was higher than the global average.

In a report released earlier this month, the Canadian Institute for Health Information said 19.4 per cent of those who tested positive for the virus as of July 23 were health-care workers. Twelve health care workers, nine from Ontario and three from Quebec, died from COVID-19, it said.

The World Health Organization said in July that health-care workers made up 10 per cent of global COVID-19 infections.

A national federation of nurses' unions blames the infection rate on a slow response to the pandemic, a shortage of labour and a lack of personal protective equipment.

https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/nearly-20-per-cent-of-covid-19-infections-...

Regardless of this study or that or what they did right or wrong in Sweden or the UK or the States in Canada our health care system is too fragile to risk a wave as big or bigger than the last. We didn't have enough nurses the first go around and now there are even fewer nurses. 

They are supposed to risk their lives because people think their rights are being trampled on if they can't party. It is incredibly selfish. 

Your attitude is like climate change denialism because the information mentioned above is well-known. You've been reading up enough to know the pressures placed on health care systems world wide. You've read about how quickly it spreads and of super spreader events. You just choose to ignore it and pick at the mistakes made as though that somehow proves your point that there should be no restrictions on our movements. 

If you catch Covid 19 health care workers will risk their own health to care for you but they shouldn't have to when you show no regard for theirs. 

Aristotleded24

Pondering wrote:
You have zero regard for our health care workers.

...

If you catch Covid 19 health care workers will risk their own health to care for you but they shouldn't have to when you show no regard for theirs.

Your concern for health care workers is admirable, but I don't know why you think I don't care about them or insist on reading my posts as attacks. It's a tactic of yours that I do not find conducive to constructive discussion. You are not in any way a spokesperson for health care workers.

And actually saying I deserve to die if I catch covid because I have a different opinion (setting aside the fact that I am at a very low risk to even require hospitalization, much less die from it)? Police officers often say that people who criticize police brutality should never call 911 in an emergency. So if any cop-critics in this babble community have someone break in and there is a knife to that person's throat, are you saying they deserve for the police to not respond?

Actually saying someone on babble deserves to die for having a different opinion. What a despicable debating tactic, and it absolutely proves the point I made upthread about the intransigence of those who support the lockdown.

If authoritarian fascism were to ever rise in Canada, I believe based on public compliance and unquestioning of the covid measures that the general public would go along with that quite easily.

Aristotleded24

Pondering wrote:
You've been reading up enough to know the pressures placed on health care systems world wide.

You mean like how health care systems in Northern Italy were overwhelmed because of a lack of ICU beds to begin with, along with being in an area of heavy air pollution in a country that has a high elderly population? Or how about Andrew Cuomo of New York ordering nursing homes to take sick patients? Perhaps you're talking about how hospital ERs in Winnipeg actually cleared out?

Pondering wrote:
You've read about how quickly it spreads and of super spreader events.

Obviously there are no sporting events or concerts happening right now. I think reports about super spreading events in things like church choiors are essentially the media picking up and running with them because it scares people and it generates ratings, whereas actually looking at the structural issues of covid spreading among low-income workers of colour doesn't really make for a quick soundbyte.

Aristotleded24

eastnoireast wrote:
ah, "science".   that monolithic, shimmering pure truth; unsullied by the earthly bounds of politics, bias, capitalism, or stupidity.

It seems in this community, and in many left circles in general, there is an expectation that we need to listen to "science" and "scientists" because they have all the knowledge. It's almost a deification of both, as if the scientists themselves are perfect and they don't have their blind spots, and the science itself has revealed all knkowledge, and they should all be believed without question. This is funny because many people on babble are athiests who don't believe in a deity. I don't see any difference between that and the slavish devotion of religious fundamentalists to their deity. Same thought processes just manifesting in a different way.

Pondering

I didn't say you deserve to die. I said you should stay home and look after yourself. 

You cannot say you care about healthworkers when you promote a situation that endangers their well-being and their lives.  You cannot plead ignorance. 

Why should a health care worker die because people are too stupid to socially distance and wear masks. Some people who do those things will still get sick and will still risk the lives of healthcare workers but at least they are trying. 

You on the other hand are promoting a situation in which healthcare workers will die needlessly so somebody else can have a party. 

Aristotleded24

Pondering wrote:
I didn't say you deserve to die.

To preserve your original quote against editing or delition, I will post it for the record:

Pondering wrote:
If you catch Covid 19 health care workers will risk their own health to care for you but they shouldn't have to when you show no regard for theirs.

Pondering wrote:
I said you should stay home and look after yourself.

In the very unlikely event I do catch covid, I'm quite likely to recover after doing just that.

Pondering wrote:
Why should a health care worker die because people are too stupid to socially distance and wear masks. Some people who do those things will still get sick and will still risk the lives of healthcare workers but at least they are trying.

Again with using the health care workers to bolster your argument when you are not their spokesperson. It's the same tactic the right uses that if we don't have harsh prison sentences, then horrible monsters will be on the loose and they are going to come for you and kill you and that anyone who opposes harsh prison sentences doesn't care about that.

Here's an idea: Legault has been on the TV a great deal during this pandemic. Of course the politicians tell us what our obligations are to help those most vulnerable. Instead of the media dutifully repeating that message, why isn't the media repeatedly grilling him on the point of, "sir, you are in charge of the health care system, you set working conditions for them, what is your government doing to alleviate burnout and increase staffing?"

Pondering wrote:
You on the other hand are promoting a situation in which healthcare workers will die needlessly so somebody else can have a party.

And the final smoking gun will come in the form of a mushroom cloud if we don't attack Iraq and remove Saddam.

Is this spill-over from the civil liberties thread? Personally, I haven't attended a party in a long time, but I'm more into live-and-let live. But a serious question for you: we are supposed to be in solidarity with marginalized communities. This includes many immigrant communities, where extended family networks play a more important role in the culture than they do in white, middle-class Canadian culture. If we go forward and shut down private house parties, who do you think is going to be more targeted by that choice, white folks like me, or immigrant communities?

Pondering

I posted evidence on the rate that health care workers are getting sick and dying in relation to the public and in relation to health care workers in other countries. Our rate is double. I posted numbers of nurses quitting their jobs due to working conditions during Covid like being forced to work double shifts and not take days off. 

Since when do you have to be a worker in a particular field to critique the working conditions and amplify their voices?

Aristotleded24

Pondering wrote:
I posted evidence on the rate that health care workers are getting sick and dying in relation to the public and in relation to health care workers in other countries. Our rate is double. I posted numbers of nurses quitting their jobs due to working conditions during Covid like being forced to work double shifts and not take days off. 

Since when do you have to be a worker in a particular field to critique the working conditions and amplify their voices?

Then take that up with your provincial Premier, because that has nothing to do with me or any one of the so-called "covid skeptics." Ask him why nurses are burning out and quitting and leaving the health care system vulnerable at a time like this. If he deflects back to, "well we all need to do our part to stop covid," deflect back and say, "no sir, that's your job. You set the policies. You set the working conditions. You are obviously failing at your job because people are leaving. What is your plan sir?" Keep hammering away at him on that, and keep insisting that he come up with a plant to manage the health care system so that it can handle this crisis. That's likely to produce far better results than the messaging the governments have been spreading so far.

Pondering

It takes three years to train a nurse. Longer to train a doctor. Legault is to blame but he doesn't have a magic wand to fix it. He trained thousands of orderlies and aides this summer but there is still a shortage and that shortage exists across Canada. 

Testing is still lagging and that too is the fault of government. We still can't ramp up fast enough because we haven't been manufacturing that sort of thing here. Governments are training people to do contact tracing. Both those things have to get up to speed before we can open more fully. It would help if people would use the tracing app.

 Regardless of who is to blame we cannot open up under the current circumstances because we don't have the resources. 

Until then we have one defence. Not breathing each other's air which we have an obligation to do in order to spare our health care workers.

Aristotleded24

Pondering wrote:
It takes three years to train a nurse. Longer to train a doctor. Legault is to blame but he doesn't have a magic wand to fix it. He trained thousands of orderlies and aides this summer but there is still a shortage and that shortage exists across Canada. 

Testing is still lagging and that too is the fault of government. We still can't ramp up fast enough because we haven't been manufacturing that sort of thing here. Governments are training people to do contact tracing. Both those things have to get up to speed before we can open more fully. It would help if people would use the tracing app.

 Regardless of who is to blame we cannot open up under the current circumstances because we don't have the resources. 

Until then we have one defence. Not breathing each other's air which we have an obligation to do in order to spare our health care workers.

Sounds like a really bad situation overall, and that the government should move to rectify ASAP. Even in the best case scenario, suppose we isolate and that saves the health care system. None of that actually increases the health care capacity. What's going to happen the next time something comes along? Will the health care system have any more capacity to respond then than it does now?

I just took another look at the Premier approval ratings. Legault is currently at 65% approval, despite presiding over the issues in Quebec's health care system that you brought up. That to me is an indictment over the media's failure to actually hold our politicians accountable for their misdeeds. I'm sure if they had to ask the hard questions you, me, or anyone else had for them and their fumbles and failures to answer being repeated on the evening news, his approval rating (along with Doug Ford's for that matter) would be nowhere near as high.

Pondering

Legault is actively trying to train and hire as many people as possible to shore up the health care system. He is even looking at training veterinarians and physcologists.  I don't trust him but right now he is doing a lot. 

Right now the only option to avoid overload is to minimize sharing air with other people. 

Aristotleded24

I think now would be a good time to shore up the health care system so that it can handle future shocks. At the same time, I think we should also have an agressive public health strategy that lowers the baseline load on the health care system in the first place so that the system is not so overloaded, the staff not as burnt out, and that there is actual room for increased cases of sickness (or additional capacity to build field hospitals in affected regions if necessary). You'll probably find a strong relationship between a generally unhealthy population and a high corona casualty count, both because of the stress on health care systems and the fact that unhealthy people are more likely to have bad outcomes. The only other option, as you point out, are the restrictions we are currently living under. We are going to have more pandemics, probably in my lifetime, and I don't think anyone wants to have to ride the "we-have-a-pandemic-so-we-have-to-shut-down, the-pandemic-is-over-so-now-we-can-reopen" rollercoaster.

Aristotleded24
cco

Aristotleded24 wrote:

I think now would be a good time to shore up the health care system so that it can handle future shocks. At the same time, I think we should also have an agressive public health strategy that lowers the baseline load on the health care system in the first place so that the system is not so overloaded, the staff not as burnt out, and that there is actual room for increased cases of sickness (or additional capacity to build field hospitals in affected regions if necessary). You'll probably find a strong relationship between a generally unhealthy population and a high corona casualty count, both because of the stress on health care systems and the fact that unhealthy people are more likely to have bad outcomes.

What kind of public health strategy would you propose that doesn't infringe on civil liberties?

NDPP

On the right to bear COVID:

'I demand full unmasked protection of the right to freedom of infection for myself and others in the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness!'

Aristotleded24

cco wrote:
What kind of public health strategy would you propose that doesn't infringe on civil liberties?

Excellent question. Here is a list of things I think should be done:

Balanced community economic development so people don't feel their only survival option is to cram together in large, densely-packed cities

Encourage outside activity and exercise for better overall health, even in winter

Rebalance agricultural and food security policies so that eating healthy doesn't cost more than fast food. That can be an issue in remote communities or First Nations

Restoration of natural ecosystems and biodiversity (including handing back land we have developed to the natural world) to reduce our risk of exposure to new-to-us pathogens against which we have no immunity

Rethink our elder care model so that they are not stuck in care facilities where infection spreads like wildfire. This will be especially important as more people who don't have children age so they are looked after

Stronger union and labour rights, so that workers in meat packing plants can be safe in the event of a disease outbreak and so that restaurant and bar staff don't have to work sick and cough over everything either because they can't afford to take time off or their employers would find someone else. "Stay home when you are sick," they say. Can you afford to stay home from work for one week with flu-like symptoms and no replacement income over this time period? By the way, many workplaces also require sick notes, including for things like flu and cold symptoms which the doctor can't realistically objectively diagnose anyways. Why force people who are coughing into crowded waiting rooms where they can spread their germs to somebody more vulnerable?

Scrap the Temporary Foreign Worker program. Migrant worker camps worldwide are a source of covid, because these people are often poor and live in crowded working conditions. Anybody who comes to work and pay taxes in this country should have the full benefits and priviledges of citizenship (including the freedom to search for employment where they please) and our immigration system should be adjusted to reflect this

Support for supervision and rehabilitation of criminals so that our prison population is small and only those most dangerous to society are kept locked away as a last resort. Abolish the migrant detention centres we hear about so much in the US.

Start treating chronic illnesses with at least the same level of urgency that we are treating covid. For example, diabetes is a major problem in Manitoba, has tremendous impacts on the health care system, and is also a co-morbidity for covid. Let's have an agressive strategy that not only prevents it from happening in the first place, but that treats it and prevents more serious complications down the road.

Affordable housing so that people don't have to risk spreading the illnesses around in shelters. That is going to be a big problem in the coming winter

Properly staffing child care centres and schools with enough educators so that their needs are more likely to be met

Re-emphasising that casual sex carries risks of disease transmission, and that it is a good idea to take you time and get to know someone before being physically intimate

Should that fail and if a pandemic hits, maybe some social distancing (i.e. tables spread far apart and limited capacity in restaurants) testing and quarantine of international travelers, and having people wear masks indoors for a time is necessary.

I'm sure I could come up with more ideas if I tried even harder.

Bacchus

And none of that has to do with the immediate pandemic situation

Aristotleded24

Bacchus wrote:
And none of that has to do with the immediate pandemic situation

It has absolutely everything to do with the immediate pandemic situation. That is how we got here, and unless we change course, how we will get here again, possibly dealing with a virus that is much worse.

Aristotleded24

In any case, to my above list, I will also add:

The abolition of animal factory farms. The conditions in factory farms are deplorable for animals and humans alike, and this is a very scary place for people to come into contact with animal pathogens. Not only was the last global pandemic named swine flu because of a possible connection to large-scale hog farming, but there were several scary headlines about avian influenca in the 2000s, avian influenza which spread precisely because of factory farming conditions. Go back to small farms across the land supplying meat over a larger distance. That will also address the point about balancing economic development that I outlined in my list.

Pondering

 I am constantly reading and hearing about the fact that some groups suffer disproportionally from Covid measures and from Covid. I don't know why you think we don't know about this stuff. On this board people have expressed support for more aid to the vulnerable.

Going forward of course there are many things we should be doing and most people agree that we need fast tests and better long term care homes and better working conditions but we can't roll back the clock as though we had done all those things. 

We can't achieve all those things by tomorrow morning or even next week or even next month theefore completely lifting all restrictions would lead to disaster.

I agree with a lot of your criticisms but we can never get around to discussing better ways to limit transmission  that would reduce the harm to vulnerable populations and civil liberties because your sole objective seems to be lifting all restrictions immediately. That's a conversation killer because nothing you say can justify that. 

Mobo2000

Pondering:  "because your sole objective seems to be lifting all restrictions immediately."   In my view caricaturing people's positions is the real conversation killer.

RE:  what can be done to prevent transmission and how to work towards a progressive outcome when the bills come due,  this article on Canadian Dimension has a good overview and some suggestions that made sense to me:

https://canadiandimension.com/articles/view/political-openings-class-str...

Strategic demands

What kinds of demands and campaigns might then contribute to building and spreading the understandings, networks, commitments, struggles, and structures that can realize the potentials flagged by life under the pandemic? We can expect the emergence of a wide range of mobilizations, based on differing demographics, regions, constituencies, and interests. But can we also identify a short and focused set of demands—not a wish list or a comprehensive program for a socialist government, but strategic demands that go beyond particularist concerns to contribute to the construction of a nation-wide movement to fundamentally challenge capitalist power?

Specific demands can only emerge out of widespread discussions. The demand for universal healthcare, its crucial importance all the more revealed through the pandemic, seems an obvious, common sense one. Yet the Democratic Party and some leaders of key unions have rejected it. This signals one arena of struggle that will undoubtedly occur within the broad left itself (never mind extending it to pharmacare and dental care and ending private control over the research and manufacture of drugs and protective equipment). To that, three demands, each strategically related to the new openings posed above, might be added.

One is the demand for a one-time emergency wealth tax. This is an unashamedly populist demand, intended to appeal to a broad swath of the population without addressing more fundamental issues of democratic economic control. A second is economic conversion, an unashamedly radical demand that moves beyond the generalities of the Green New Deal and the vagueness of a ‘just transition’ to engage workers in struggles that link the maintenance of a livable planet to the democratically planned restructuring of the economy.

Thirdly we need a push for greater unionization. The promise here lies not only in shifting the balance of power between specific groups of workers and their employers, but also in unleashing a long-awaited union upsurge with the potential to transform a working class consisting of fragmented and demoralized workers into a coherent social agent capable of winning and sustaining social change.

Pondering

Mobo2000 wrote:
Pondering:  "because your sole objective seems to be lifting all restrictions immediately."   In my view caricaturing people's positions is the real conversation killer.

It isn't a caricature. Ask Aristotled himself and he will tell you. He wants mass events like concerts and world festivals to go ahead. No restrictions at all.   He thinks it should all be left to the individual to decide and vulnerable individuals can self-isolate if they so choose. 

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