Re: B.C.’s Withholding of COVID-19 Data Sows Harmful Distrust, April 21 op-ed by Kirk LaPointe, publisher and editor-in-chief of BIV and vice-president, editorial, of Glacier Media.
I admire Mr. LaPointe striving to be the best. It is easy to huff and puff and demand, but there must be deep considerations of the realities of the COVID environment. Are we really helping in improving the facts we share with people? Or becoming an impediment by increasing public anxiety?
The COVID realities are: not everything is known about the virus and the vaccines, new knowledge/data forces changes of tactics/plans; not many people have the expert knowledge to understand the science of viruses especially the novel ones; the mathematics involved in the generation and interpretation of data of COVID; the science of developing tests, the accuracy of the results and the interpretation of results in plain language the amateurs in society (including myself) can understand; and the economics to consider to make equitable decisions.
Also ask yourself the question that if you had the most comprehensive data generated in hand and took a walk with this data, could you identify the people encountered that have the virus? Had we people with this skill, COVID would have been eradicated by the end of 2019 at the latest and no declaration of a pandemic. This pandemic is similar to war. They both inflict suffering and death. In war, the enemy is known.
With COVID, the enemy is unknown, walks among us and may be a loved one.
In this case we should activate the KISS (keep it simple stupid) principle: wear a mask, distance from others, wash or sanitize your hands, and no unsanitized fingers to mouth, eyes or nose. This is all the information we need to personally make our contribution to prevent spread.
Practising and having faith in this simple information will also make us less anxious or stressed.
Let’s consider the many demands that we and others make on our government. Have we paused to consider the effects of our demands on those responsible in government and British Columbians, is having?
I learned this lesson when dealing with a relative in long-term care. I became aware of the short staffing at an early stage.
As a result, I kept my demands for information to the critical need to know. My motto was that the more time staff spent on my non-essential needs, the less time available for staff to care for the needs of the residents.
I am sure Mr. Lapointe has experienced similar with the drastic cuts in newsrooms. We must also consider the effects the tax cuts and smaller governments of previous administrations have had (in B.C.’s case the 25 per cent tax cuts at the beginning of a mandate)?
Essential programs were slashed, employees lost jobs and the combination of this left the coffers empty and the expertise that existed left for better pastures, resulting in an inefficient system.
Today, the system may not have totally recovered to effectively deal with huge and diverse demands of the pandemic. The people who are there are doing a great job in dealing with the ever-changing pandemic.
We should be more understanding and be more considerate so as to leave more time for the decision makers to be most effective. Our ranting and raving is not helping in bringing this pandemic to a fast end.
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