When a radiologist takes an x-ray that shows you have a fractured hip, are you going to trust him to do the surgery to repair that fracture? When a scientist invents a new cell phone battery that is longer lasting and non-incendiary, are you going to ask him for advice on vaccines? Do you and I have any expertise on vaccines?
There are several factors that aggravate the confusion and anger about this this pandemic:
1. China is doing its utmost to conceal the origins of the virus;
2. People with no relevant expertise are offering “expert” advice;
3. Opinion, rumour and outright fiction are given the same weight as scientific evidence.
4. Scientific evidence is misunderstood and misinterpreted, sometimes deliberately.
For instance, there is much concern because the vaccine appears to cause myocarditis in 1-5 people out of every 100,000 who are vaccinated. Not as much is being said about studies that show the disease itself causes myocarditis six times as often and that these cases are apt to be more severe and longer lasting.
Why don’t we just accept that our public health officials are more competent than we are to sort fact from fiction? They probably aren’t getting everything right, but they are doing the best they can with the information available to them and we will be better off if we take their advice rather than thinking we know more than they do.
By far the greatest number of deaths from COVID have been people who are elderly or who are immune compromised due to other conditions. The same is true for seasonal influenza. The majority of these deaths take place in nursing homes. What if our system of warehousing the elderly in large institutions is a greater problem than the virus?
I’m a statistician, a numbers guy. Put a bunch of numbers in front of me and I’ll start analyzing them. Here are the numbers I have been puzzling over today:
Saskatchewan: number of new cases of COVID – 449 / number of people in hospital due to COVID – 311 / number in ICU – 65
Québec: number of new cases of COVID – 469 / number of people in hospital due to COVID – 321 / number in ICU – 94
The numbers are almost the same, yet the population of Québec is more than seven times greater than the the population of Saskatchewan. That means that COVID is seven times as big a problem in Saskatchewan. Why is that happening?
I think part of the answer appears when we look at the vaccination records. In Québec 73.3% of the population is fully vaccinated (two shots); in Saskatchewan the number is 61.5%. That seems like a pretty significant factor, especially considering that 75% of the infections and 80% of the hospitalizations are unvaccinated people.
Does that mean that the government led by François Legault is doing a much better job of handling the COVID crisis than the government led by Scott Moe? Both government have made vaccines readily available and made it as convenient as possible to find a nearby location to be vaccinated. They have urged people to get vaccinated.
Does it mean then that the folks in Québec are just a wee bit smarter than we are here in Saskatchewan?
I won’t venture an answer to those questions. I have probably stuck my neck out too far already in asking them. What do you think?
Chris had been on a waiting list for surgery since last October. The last time she enquired it sounded like she would have to wait a few more months since the medical system has been occupied caring for COVID patients. Then out of the blue came a phone call saying the surgeon has an open slot on May 25, due to a cancellation. Do you want it?
She jumped at the chance to be done with the waiting. We got to the hospital by 7:00 last Tuesday morning and the surgery took place three hours later. After the surgery she was given Tylenol and morphine for the pain. She came home the next afternoon with instructions to take three regular strength Tylenol every four hours. They gave her a prescription for morphine, in case the Tylenol wasn’t enough.
We didn’t know what to expect, but her recovery has surprised both of us. She never needed to get the morphine prescription filled and by today hardy needs Tylenol either. She should not lift anything over five kilos nor do anything too strenuous. She asked me to change the sheets on the bed yesterday, but is able to do almost all of her normal activities. Best of all, the surgery has corrected the original problem!
At the same time, today is the first day of the first stage of reopening Saskatchewan. If all goes well, stage two will come in three weeks and if that goes well, stage three will follow in another three weeks. That will mean the end of all COVID restrictions.
It’s beginning to look like an enjoyable summer ahead of us. We are thankful to God for bringing us safely thus far and this double recovery is extra cause for rejoicing.
A friend told me that scientific evidence shows that the COVID epidemic ended in May and what we have now is just ordinary influenza. Others tell me that they have read scientific proof that COVID is far worse than we have thought up to now. Some say it is a conspiracy to take our freedoms away from us. Whatever your point of view, you will find unassailable evidence on the internet to support it.
Is there such a thing as “just ordinary influenza”? Half a million people die every year from the flu. The epidemic that began near the end of World War One killed more people than the war.
As Christians, whatever our point of view might be about COVID, our conduct should reflect a concern for the people around us. We should follow the directives of our local health authorities, such as wearing masks and refraining from large gatherings. We should avoid criticism of authorities and refrain from belligerent arguments supporting a point of view contrary to theirs.
Remember, people around us are very sick, some are dying. That nay yet become our lot. Jesus told us to love our neighbour as ourselves. May that love govern our attitudes, our conduct and our conversation.
We are in a fog, much that is happening around us veiled from our view. Nor do we know what the world around us will look like when the fog lifts. Let’s just admit that and trust our Lord who knows all things.