When I was young I watched a television show called the Twilight Zone. The twilight zone was a place somewhere between fantasy and reality and each week there was a new captivating, scary story. Rod Serling was our guide.
I think the PHO’s handling of the pandemic has moved us all into the twilight zone.
Consider the following:
1) We get questionable data every day in our numbers. We are told we have only one case of the new variant. The reason is we still do very little testing. Compare us to Denmark (a country with demographics like BC) where in a day they can do 183,797 PCR tests while we manage only 12,757. When you do so little testing you will get very low numbers. That same day the Danes did 160,044 rapid tests while most of our rapid tests languished in a warehouse. At the same time the Government rushed through a bill so that we must now pay to get additional information through the Freedom of Information Act. This helps them keep you in the twilight zone of fantasy versus facts!
2) A week after most of the other large provinces have already vaccinated over one hundred thousand children, our PHO is now urging parents to have their children vaccinated. Only one third of the parents have registered their children for a vaccination appointment. This is perfectly understandable since for a year and a half the PHO has said children don’t spread the virus and that schools are safe.
This enabled the PHO and government to abandon our teachers. By denying that schools were vectors of the spread, our teachers were denied the safety precautions required in every other workplace. Yet we now know that in Island Health alone, students and teachers accounted for 16% of all infections in the first six weeks of school. Four hundred forty students and 34 staff members tested positive for the virus between September 8th and October 17th. Our children have gone from being no threat to being such a danger that they have taken priority over our vulnerable seniors to receive boosters. This, at a time when one of my immune compromised relatives (cancer)in her seventieth year has now been eight months with no booster. Even when she calls the health authority, she is denied access to an appointment. We are truly somewhere in Rod Serling’s fifth dimension!
3) The vaccine mandate process has all the characteristics of the twilight zone. All coaches in community sports are mandated to be vaccinated but if you are a teacher coaching a school team you do not have to be vaccinated. All health care workers are mandated by the PHO to be vaccinated but the PHO requires School Boards to mandate that teachers be vaccinated which no School Board has done. The feeble excuse used by every Board is that they consulted the PHO who advised against a teacher vaccine mandate. You can’t make this stuff up! We are somewhere between fantasy and reality; we are in the PHO’s twilight zone.
4) The PHO has also asked each of us to keep our Christmas gatherings small ensuring you are only including fully vaccinated guests that you know well. Yet the PHO attends sporting events with eighteen thousand individuals most of whom are unknown to the unmasked PHO. Perhaps that is OK because even though not meeting the age criteria the PHO already has a booster. Now with the highly transmissible Omicron variant on the horizon, most other provinces and developed countries are immediately broadening their booster criteria to include those eighteen and older while speeding up the process, but our PHO is taking no action. We really are entering the twilight zone.
So here we are in the middle of a pandemic with a PHO that is only reactive to conditions when a proactive stance should be de rigor. Remember the mask mandate. Even though science and logic supported the mandate, it only came into effect because there was overwhelming political pressure to have all children masked. It may be time for us all to demand that that the PHO be proactive in the face of a new variant, that we be given all the facts based upon a proper testing regimen and that we have full transparency from a government that is now putting up barriers to those seeking the facts.
Until we undertake these three steps, we are all in a very uncomfortable twilight zone with a paternalistic PHO for a guide.
Doug Player, December 02, 2021.