Shocking and Confusing

Yes,  “shocking and confusing” was how Ontario’s reopening plan was described by Ontario Hospital Association CEO Anthony Dale on February 12, 2021. He added that the move is a “huge gamble” given the scientific modelling presented the day before that predicted a “third wave” of infections driven by the new virus variants .

The plan was cleverly released by Premier Doug Ford and Doctor David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer, on the Friday before the long Family Day weekend. Both Ford and Williams were harshly criticized by Ontario’s Auditor General Bonnie Lysak in her AG’s report last year. That report stated that Dr. David Williams “did not fully exercise his powers under the Health Protections and Promotions Act, did not issue directives to local medical officers of health to ensure a consistent response, and did not issue directives on their behalf to Ontarians.”

In short, the doctor who was scheduled to retire from his post as Interim Medical Officer of Health last February simply “did not lead” the province’s response to COVID-19. Yet Premier Ford keeps him on the government’s so-called “Science Advisory Board” where today he is backing Ford’s “shocking and confusing” reopening plan. It begins to appear that Dr. Williams is a bit of a “Yes Man” for Ford’s Ontario is Open for Business mantra.

Follow the money, Ontarians. The “Science Advisory Board” is a front that looks like Pandemic Health Protection for the “good people of Ontario”  but acts like Ford’s own Chamber of Commerce. Shocking and confusing, and dangerous to our health.

The way I see it.

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Skid Crease, Caledon

 

*image from princegeorgecitizen.com

Super-Spreader Events

 The unmasked crowds celebrating shoulder to shoulder in the streets of Tampa, Florida last night were proof positive that despite all the health guidelines in the world, sports fans are stupid. In the stadium protocols were followed, but on the streets the Tampa Bay fans cheered and hugged and sang, spreading aerosols and droplets in a person to person celebratory frenzy for Tom Brady and their winning Super Bowl LV champion Buccaneers.

The date was February 7. 2021, and COVID-19 infection rates were just beginning to drop in North America following the Christmas and New Year family gathering  infection surge. So count forward 10 days to two weeks and let’s see if the wave begins to crest again around the last week of February. With new variant strains of the coronavirus entering the playing field, and certain vaccines like Astra-Zeneca proving less effective against the mutants, it could be a whole new ball game.

The whole world of professional and amateur sport is culpable in spreading this virus, From the Super Bowl right down to college football. From hockey and soccer and baseball and basketball fans to the Australian Open tennis entitled to the Olympic hopefuls – all of these venues attracting massive gatherings of people are suspect super-spreader events. Greed is insatiable and money doesn’t sleep, so there is no incentive to postpone all of these events until after this global pandemic is under control.

Granted, most professional and amateur sports organizations have been very careful about following health protocols, but the Super Bowl and the Australian Open stand out as exceptions, and their ability to attract hordes of loyal fans is a marketing mogul’s dream come true. If you advertise it, they will come because, as the partying crowds in the streets of Tampa last night proved, people are stupid.

We are not ignorant of the impact of large crowded events. We have been told since the spring of 2020 to stay 2 metres apart, to wash our hands frequently, to wear masks. We chastized the fanatical crowds at Trump rallies, we held the Sturgess motorcycle mob to account, we held the American Thanksgiving family gatherings up for public shaming, and yet we continue to gather in spewing, alcohol fueled masses like sheep led to the slaughter to watch our gladiators. We are just stupid, and the herd is thinning itself.

In the United States and Canada alone, as of the morning after Super Bowl LV, over 484,000 people have died from COVID-19. To paraphrase detective Dirty Harry Callahan: “Are you feeling lucky today sports fans? Well, are you?”

The way I see it.

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Skid Crease, Caledon

*image from whas11.com

The Real Reason for Reopening Schools

“The economy, stupid.” James Carville, 1992

Why is there such a push to re-open schools in the middle of a pandemic just as variant strains of the virus increase the possibility of transmission? Well, as James accurately noted, “it’s the economy, stupid.”

The family circle of the days of Leave it to Beaver are long gone, being replaced by two working parents or single parents leaving no one to look after the children while the parental unit is at work keeping the economy functionning. This is a trend that began in the seventies when more women entered the workforce and accelerated with increasing divorce rates and single parent families. In fact, by 2020, over 1/4 of children were living in lone parent families.

 Doug Ford, alleged high school dropout turned drug dealer turned Lingerie League cheerleader, doesn’t give a hoot about the value of education. He needs those adult bodies back in the factories and stores and services stimulating Ontario’s economy. What’s the motto? “A place to grow .., your business!”  or was it “Ontario: Open for Business”  or was it “Make Ontario Great Again” ….

Heck, you can’t get all those parental units to Build Our Ontario Back Better (BOOBB) if they can’t work because they can’t leave the younger children at home alone, and you don’t have enough provincial daycare spaces due to your lack of policy, so … reopen the schools!

The saddest part of this push is that we are all realizing that parents who grew used to depending on our high quality and professional public school safety net to protect and teach their children are now stuck in a Stay at Home Lockdown with rusty to non-existent parenting skills. The incidence of infants and young children being injured at home has increased dramatically. The incidence of family violence has increased dramatically.

And what does Doug do? He makes home deliver of alcohol easier. Brilliant. In fact, he considers it an essential service. You know the old saying, “Once a drug dealer, always a drug dealer.” Allegedly.

The way I see it.

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Skid Crease, Caledon