Thursday, January 28, 2021

Newsfirst columnist Robert Vairo’s ‘That’s What I’m Thinking’

A National Emergency Demands Leadership I watched with envy as some NBC TV affiliate out of Seattle Washington was telecasting a report on how municipal...

The Worst is Yet to Come

I’m really having mixed feelings about all this. Let’s put the brakes on euphoria, because only some vaccines are arriving. I am feeling just a tiny wee bit relieved though. Why just a bit? Because less than half of one percent of the needed vaccines were scheduled to arrive this week. That’s the good news, sort of, knowing that we could have, and should have had many more arriving had Canada signed on with pharmaceuticals much sooner. The other half of the story is this. We think we are now seeing the worst of it. Hanukkah, and now Christmas festivities are coming, and too many Quebecers say they will still visit relatives and maintain some sense of season festivities, frankly much like the rest of our countrymen from Newfoundland to BC, to our North. If that’s the case, and it most likely is, we are in trouble. Deep trouble. Difficult to imagine but it is feared that January and February will bring a much higher number of infections that we are now witnessing. The worst is yet to come. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Canada, projects a worst-case scenario of 34 thousand Covid deaths in Canada, by April 1. That’s more than double the current 13 thousand 200.

Our health care facilities are in trouble. Our cherished health care workers, suffering from emotional and physical exhaustion, will somehow have to survive this, because the conclusion is evident. Many more will be needlessly infected and pour into our hospitals. And we’ve heard this before, and in parts of the world it is happening, choices are being made as to who gets treated, and who does not. Who lives and who does not. It could come to that very sad conclusion, if it has not already.

More vaccines are scheduled to arrive but there is no one we can believe who will tell us with frankness and certainty when and how many. We are told to expect more sometime before March 31. Remember we were promised the first vaccines would arrive in Canada during the first few months of the new year, and suddenly 249 thousand are arriving, in December. How did that happen? Was there face time between Ottawa and Pfizer? And I have to ask whether there was an agreement between the PMO and Pfizer, did we have to blink to this pharma giant so that our government could save face and relieve some political pressure. I did not like Justin Trudeau holding a news conference alone last week in making the announcement. Although encouraging, and a sufficient number to allow provinces to do a dry run of distribution, let’s face it the supposed big news announcement of 249 thousand vaccines arriving, means only 125 thousand out of 38 million Canadians will be inoculated. Trying to politically spin that into some huge accomplishment is not the time nor is it right. Remember we bungled and came to the game with no reserved seat. I try, but frankly have little confidence in anyone of these federal governing political leaders.

One person I do believe, and trust more than any other these days, and he is not a politician, but the Allergy and Infectious Disease guru, Dr Anthony Fauci. I’d like to think he speaks for the whole of North America. And I believe him when he says Covid could be under control in the ‘back half of 2021’ if, and that’s a big “if” enough people are vaccinated. Remember that quote, “under control” does not mean eradicated. Some of us can, and will still get it. How many of us have to be inoculated for some kind of progress? According to Fauci “at least 75% have to receive the double vaccine before we start seeing results”. And following the second vaccine a week later, it will take seven more days to become fully immune. The first vaccine is estimated to be 52% effective, and one week after the second, over 90%. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says “Immune response begins 10 days after the first dose”. Add to that, Pfizer, Moderna and the others, still can not tell us how long this immunity will last. Three months is often mentioned. But some ‘experts’ don’t seem to be concerned. Dr Fauci and others speak of “herd immunity”, or population immunity that protects us from the virus.

Wear your mask, wash your hands, keep a hockey stick’s length away and stay home as much as possible. Use screen time to communicate with family, and have as merry a Christmas as can be had under our restrictions. We’ll chat again in 2021!

That’s What I’m Thinking.

Robert Vairo

Robert Vairo
Robert Vairo
Robert Vairo is a guest columnist and contributor to Newsfirst Multimedia.

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