Any Lessons Learned So Far?
Virologies, Epidemiologists, and Public Health Care Professionals are all saying the next COVID wave is here. It. more emergent than urgent at the moment but it’s growing. This time we have the vaccines that are like an off-shore Levy intended to help contain the wave as it takes over. It is hoped such interventions can reduce the damage of infection spread, hospitalizations, and deaths.
But we are seeing that vaccines, while powerful they are not perfect, and mutant variants demand constant vigilance and renewed adaptive action. The current wave restraining levies may not be enough because the waves of variants change and spread, especially through the unvaccinated. These unvaccinated threaten to overwhelm our health care systems, overburden and endanger our healthcare personnel, and unnecessarily put public safety at enhanced risk again.
We’ve put our Healthcare systems, the professionals, and support staff that assist them, through too many waves of personal risk through hospitalizations and ICU battles already. Early warning signs are that another wave is coming and growing rapidly. This is thanks, in large part, to the Delta Variant. But the next wave has also been enabled by inept and reckless policy changes by Kenney and his Cons. We have also had a history of lax enforcement of Public Health Regulation Orders, which can’t continue.
The UnVaccinated Are Running the Show
The UCP is hell-bent on reopening the economy for the political points of being “first” so they have moved too soon and too fast. To their credit (sic) they have “paused” the reckless reopening strategy but are now too little and too late on school reopening policy.
The UCP has pandered to their Base at the expense of the health and safety responsible Albertans who have gotten vaccinated. Those responsible and responsive Albertans have taken the need for vaccination seriously. Many of the fully vaccinated Albertans are still socially distancing themselves and masking up at indoor public places because our infection rates are the highest in the country.
On the other hand, there are no consequences for the personal and dangerous choices being made by anti-vaxxers. Their much-touted freedoms will become severely restrained by responsible institutions, businesses, community organizations, and others as they get restricted access to in-person services in the name of public safety. This decentralized local response to anti-vaxxers is necessary because Kenney is failing, refusing, and neglecting to take the next wave seriously enough.
Kenney, by merely pausing his Pandora’s Box of guaranteed Covid Chaos for 6 weeks is still a flawed and insufficient policy response. He is still demanding total removal of quarantine and isolation requirements and testing limitations at the end of the Pause. His politically driven, and ideologically dictated, approach to COVID is wrong in so many ways and contrary to good governance, in so many aspects.
What we need is a total Rethink of COVID policy on a provincial basis, not downloaded to local institutions who can’t effectively understand enforce the complexity of COVID public health concerns. We need to anticipate to prevent, (continue in-door crowd masking, social distancing, hand hygiene) take control measures to detect (symptomatic as well as exposed testing and tracing), and apply enforcement measures (lay charges, prosecute and restrict access to non-essential services to the unvaccinated) to mitigate public health and safety consequences.
Then we need relevant and compassionate education for the vaccine-hesitant. But we also need quicker enforcement policies that deal assertively with those anti-vaxxers who think their life-threatening behaviors, based on ignorance and error, are protected as personal “freedoms.” They are not.
Vaccines are Politicized – Get Over It
Vaccinations are now extremely politicized, to the dismay of medical professionals. It is now a wedge issue in the current Federal election with different options from the Conservatives compared to everyone else. Demonstrations will follow the campaigns, as is happening at Trudeau events already. Can we expect some violence as a result? Based on what we are seeing in the States, including local School Board meetings, misinformed, but vocal minorities, are getting aggressive. This should not come as a surprise but what is going to be the UCP response to such ignorance and error?
The UCP has paid lip service to the needs of vaccine-hesitant citizens. Those with personal fears and trepidations about the vaccines, often as a result of misinformation, are being noted but not addressed. We have offered them “incentives” like being eligible for a million-dollar lottery IF they get vaccinated. The UCP seems to have little exposure to or respect for behavior psychology research.
There Must be Consequences for Risky Behaviours
The future is becoming clearer. There is no path to a post-pandemic future on the horizon. It is not going away. There is only containment, constraints, and controls in our combat against COVID. We have the vaccine tools to minimize infection and social policy to minimize exposure. But these tools and techniques will not eliminate COVID and its mutant variants. We are not yet even at the stage of effective implementation of these tactics.
That is a failure of governance and, frankly of responsible citizenship too. We need to do more and do it better too. Starting at the individual responsibility level, we must become Better Informed and Effective Voters, for personal benefit, and in-service of the Greater Good. Take your Citizenship seriously and use its power to Press for Change you want to see from this election. Don’t get duped by disinformation or manipulated by misinformation. Be Aware and Beware.