Sixth time a charm

By Darren Lum

Like a calm before the commuter storm, an early morning walk in downtown Haliburton leaves little to distract from the sound of water flowing from Emmerson Dam, or the birds’ chorus of chirps announcing daybreak, which isn’t interrupted yet by the sound of rolling tires from passing vehicles carrying morning commuters, who head off to worksites and offices and schools.
Ontario is facing its own proverbial calm before the storm, as rising COVID-19 cases are indicating a sixth wave of the pandemic. And yet, we’re nearing more health mandates being lifted later this month after the mask mandate was lifted. Maybe I’m being an alarmist since there are a little more than 12.2 million Ontario residents fully vaccinated – two doses. Or maybe not. As of March 31, there have been 12,451 deaths and 1,166,128 cases. Looking at Ontario Public Health’s graph showing the number of COVID-19 daily case counts and rates for the period of March 1 to March 31 it visually resembles an enthralling roller coaster ride, except enthralling is not what society wants when it comes to public health data. It’s definitely not ideal for the people behind the numbers. The thousands of families who have lost loved ones, or the families whose lives were put on pause, causing worry and anxiety. Sure, there are valleys in the graph, but the peaks are a little concerning and the steady upward trend on average will keep me wearing my mask in public places. I hope the trend changes. For all our sakes. Unfortunately, hope doesn’t save lives like health care professionals.

It’s difficult to accept the Ford government’s decisions of lifting mandates when communities around the world have already endured similar trends.
It seems Ontario politicians are indifferent to the data, as Health Minister Christine Elliott said recently any further provincial measures are not necessary.
Dr. Kieran Moore, Chief Medical Officer of Health, who has not held weekly briefings has not been seen for a while.
Despite government policy and, seemingly, politician indifference, the public has taken notice and started to become concerned about the rising numbers and supporting data from the wastewater signs and people being hospitalized.
Anecdotally, I’ve learned of several friends, who have contracted COVID-19 through their elementary school aged children. Thankfully, symptoms were mild for the most part for the vaccinated individuals, but more pronounced for the children. I wonder about how masks may have helped, particularly with children who are of an age that can’t be vaccinated.
Everybody makes mistakes. The important takeaway is to learn from them and improve ourselves for personal growth, but also to help loved ones in our life … or part of our responsibility Sometimes you don’t get a second chance. Sometimes you do. Sometimes you get six chances – Hello, Doug! The value of doing something different than what we did before helps when we want change.

I’m not sure if British poet, Alexander Pope, said, “To err is human, to forgive divine” ever considered a government like what we have, which has repeatedly made mistakes despite health professional warnings and supported data and information from other countries. If he did, he may have added a qualifier to keep his quote to the exclusivity of individuals.
History can teach us. As Spanish philosopher George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” So what gives with the Ford government?