There is fire and there is ice. Fire might be ignoring this virus entirely, and watching an entire society, its economy and its people, crash and burn. Ice, on the other hand, would be freezing everything… cold, hard lockdowns until the virus is extinguished, for as long as it takes. Several months at least. And extinguished along with it, the entire economy… of now healthy — but starving and broke — people.
Neither is a palatable alternative, so we’re stuck navigating a mix of the two… an endless ocean of lukewarm water… where we float around with no destination in sight, hoping to eventually find a shore where we can disembark from this brutal journey.
That being said, actions aside, the *messaging* can’t be lukewarm. It can’t get a little warmer or a little colder. It needs to be decisive, and, around here, it’s not. The result of it is irresponsible parties in Big White… and Whistler… and Surrey weddings… and Yaletown Penthouses. The list goes on.
The lukewarm messaging, along with the lukewarm weather and the lukewarm vaccine rollout has led to this lukewarm attitude… and it’s not good.
I haven’t talked about Chile in a while, so here’s an update: They are the most vaccinated country in the Americas. Their one-jab percentage is 36% (The U.S. is 30%; we’re at 14%). Awesome, right? They must all be out in the streets, partying it up, having a great time, right? Yeah… no. They are, as of today, on a full-on lockdown. Like, full-on… for two weeks.
How did that happen? Many reasons, but a lukewarm attitude to following restrictions is a big part of it. Easing here, easing there. For a while, things were bad. Then they locked it down hard. Then things got better… then they started easing restrictions… then they started making exceptions. The following people are allowed out… caregivers, pharmacy visitors, cab drivers… whatever… the list slowly grew till fully some 5 million people out of the population of 19 million were legally out and about, ostensibly during a lockdown. Not a big deal, because that was when vaccinations were ramping up, and the variants hadn’t arrived. And suddenly, very quickly, with everyone already living like things were back to normal, it’s all gone to hell.
While it’s possible this level of vaccination and nonchalance might have kept up with the original virus, it’s no match for the far-more contagious variants. Accordingly, 5 steps forward has led to 10 steps back. New cases have risen dramatically, and hospitals are near capacity. ICUs are overflowing… and so are the morgues. There can’t be a worse indicator than when the emergency overflow morgues start showing up.
I’ll be honest… I’m not impressed with our lukewarm provincial messaging. Things are kind of good one day, not so good other days. Wishy and washy. Ninety percent of Covid fines are unpaid and, given what we’ve seen with respect to organization around all of this, unlikely to ever be collected. And they are insignificant slaps on the wrist anyway, considering the potential implications. It bothers me greatly that people behave that way, and it bothers me that many do so because they’re just following an example they see all around them. Please don’t do this; please don’t do that. It’s perhaps the biggest downside of being a Canadian during all of this; our inherent politeness doesn’t seem able to impose a degree of harshness that’s truly needed. Give me fire or give me ice. We’re not getting anywhere anytime soon, floating around aimlessly in this vastness of lukewarm water.
But there is some good news… my mom got vaccinated today!