I was recently in Nashville, Tennessee. No lockdowns. No masks. No COVID regulations to speak of. People are going about their lives. Why can that be the case in Tennessee (and in other U.S. states, such as Florida) when there are curfews (curfews!) in Quebec, two years after the pandemic started, with a vaccination rate of nearly 80 per cent? When BC is still limiting social gatherings? When we are putting tremendous and unsustainable strain on all the complex systems that have served us so well, and made us so comfortable, in the midst of the troubles of our lives?
The cure has become worse than the disease.
I have spoken with senior advisors to provincial governments in Canada. There is no end game in sight. The idea that Canadian policy is or should be governed “by the science” is not only not true, it’s also not possible, as there is no simple pathway from the facts of science to the complexities of policy. We are deciding, by opinion poll, to live in fear, and to become increasingly authoritarian in response to that fear. That’s a danger, too, and it’s increasingly real. How long are we going to flail about, hiding behind our masks, afraid to send our children (who are in no danger more serious than risk of the flu) to school, charging university students full tuition for tenth-rate online “education,” pitting family member against family member over vaccine policy and, most seriously, compromising the great economic engine upon which our health also depends?