The Hamilton Spectator

Which side are you on in the pandemic’s wake?

It seems the world is divided into people who put themselves above all else, and those who don’t


Coincident­ally, just as the general hubbub and spin doctoring over release of Justice Rouleau’s report on the invocation of the Emergencie­s Act were dying down, I came across an article in Bloomberg News comparing the COVID-19 responses of various countries around the world with their per capita death rates from COVID.

As might be expected, those countries which clamped down hard and early on the virus, and were more aggressive in curtailing peoples’ personal freedoms, did quite well in controllin­g the spread of the virus until vaccines, antivirals and other medical interventi­ons could be developed.

Countries as diverse as Australia, New Zealand, Mongolia, India and Laos had fewer than 1,000 COVID deaths per one million people.

The U.S.A., U.K, Brazil and Italy on the other hand, all countries where the response of the central government­s to the COVID outbreak was tepid at best, fared the worst, all with over 3,000 deaths per one million people.

The U.S. led the way with approximat­ely 3,300 deaths per million, while Canada was in the middle of the pack with approximat­ely 1,300.

What seems to have been lost in the politiciza­tion of this issue is the fact that the point of the public health exercise was to save lives.

As disjointed, inconsiste­nt, and plainly incompeten­t (think warehouses full of expired N95 masks and other personal protective equipment) as the federal, provincial and local public health efforts may have been at times, they were trying to save lives.

It was a monumental task and the numbers testify to their general success.

The difference between the per capita death rates of the U.S. and Canada translates to 70,000 lives, based on a Canadian population of approximat­ely 35 million. Bear in mind that these per capita death rates represent direct COVID-19 deaths only and do not include the deaths of people who were unable to receive timely emergency surgery or cancer care because the hospitals were full of COVID patients.

We can only imagine how much worse it could have been in our hospitals and long-termcare homes if the Canadian experience had mirrored that of the U.S.

From the close correlatio­n between national public health efforts and outcomes, it appears that some societies simply care more about their personal freedoms than the deaths of thousands of their fellow citizens and the pain and suffering borne by their families.

The question is … is that necessaril­y a bad thing? Most people would agree that we need to protect and hold our personal freedoms near and dear to our hearts, but is being asked to wear a mask, or to get another shot (at my age I’ve had dozens) really a violation of our freedoms? Or is it really more of an inconvenie­nce?

It seems that there are two types of people — those who care more about the well-being of their fellow citizens than they care about being temporaril­y inconvenie­nced, and those who don’t.

Please ignore the ideologica­lly motivated media mouthpiece­s, the craven, calculatin­g politician­s and the self-aggrandizi­ng pastors who sit in judgment of what it means to be a Christian. Be true to yourself, and decide which side you are on.

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