By Lethbridge Herald Opinion on December 16, 2020.
COVID-19 is an acronym that stands for the coronavirus of 2019. Evidently, it originated in Wuhan, China in late 2019. Since then, the novel, i.e., new or unique, coronavirus has spread worldwide.
The Good – First and foremost, boundless credit is deserved by the doctors, nurses, technical personnel, military and numerous support staffs as well as the many others who have risked their own health, even their lives, as part of their duties to serve those who are suffering from the ravages of the deadly pandemic. Recent reports reveal more than 22,000 COVID-19 cases among health-care workers in Canada.
Having been a recent stroke patient in Lethbridge’s Chinook Regional and Calgary Foothills hospitals as well as St. Michael’s Health Centre, I can attest to the devotion, stress and strain on such dedicated personnel who serve and preserve the health of their patients. As a society, we are blessed and should be thankful for such professionals, their education, experience and devotion as well as the financial resources that support such human resources and their institutions!
Although governmental and other organizations in the public, charitable and private sectors are important to society’s good health and well-being, the commitment to responsible behaviour by individuals is vital. Public Health Canada has printed and distributed nationally several essential ways to reduce or, better still, stop the spread of COVID 19.
After top-priority efforts and many billions in funding for vaccine research, development, production and potential means of distribution, rollout of the vaccine is finally beginning. Let’s hope we can now begin to turn the tide in the pandemic.
The Bad – The media rarely give the credit due to such dedicated health-care-related personnel. Instead, they follow the mantra “bad news sells.” So, we are swamped with news about swarms of ignorant people screaming and carrying signs about their “rights” being infringed. At least, they are out in the streets while increasing numbers of COVID-19 patients are in hospitals, gasping for breath and facing death â€¦ alone â€¦ as a safety precaution to save family members and friends from such a deadly disease.
The Deadly – Globally, the total number of COVID cases exceeds 73 million – more than twice Canada’s population. On Dec. 14, the U.S. had the most cases, 16.6 million, and more than 301,000 deaths – 4.5 times the world’s per capita average. On the same day, Canada’s total confirmed cases were more than 473,000, an increase of 6,736 from the previous day. Canada continues to be on an upward trend or “surge.” As of Dec. 14, Alberta had more than 82,000 total cases, an increase of nearly 1,900 over the previous day. While the “hands off” approach of Dilettante Donald in Washington and Alberta’s ideologically ignorant provincial government dithered and the number of cases and deaths grew exponentially, their economies are declining. In Alberta, not only are the adverse effects of an inept government evident in its failed COVID-19 policies and programs but the economic impacts are disastrous â€¦ and there are more coming. Not only is Alberta’s economy suffering from the effects of the pandemic crisis but it’s woefully unable to deal with the challenges to its dependence on oil in an era of alternative, non-polluting energy sources such as solar and wind. According to a recent report of the Energy Industries Council, “Many businesses are diversifying away from oil and gas into renewable and non-energy sectors,” e.g., British Petroleum (since 1980), Petro-Canada, Husky and Shell.
Governments alone cannot bring down the numbers. Only dutifully committed Canadians can conquer COVID-19. Kudos to those socially responsible folks who wear their masks in public, practise social distancing and follow the advice of public health experts.
Al Barnhill is a Lethbridge-based columnist.