Carry that weight

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As can be seen in an article in this issue, North Dundas has managed to escape the worst effects of the covid-19 pandemic. Compared to surrounding municipalities, the case rate has been reasonably low, and the death rate, thankfully, has been lower than almost anywhere else of a comparable size. That’s the good news.

But the fact is that we’re not out of the woods yet. A reliable vaccine seems to be on the way – more than one company has announced an effective vaccine – and that is a light at the end of the tunnel. Except for one major problem: will people be prepared to get vaccinated? Reports from around the world, as well as here in Canada, seem to indicate that anything up to a third of the population are unsure about getting vaccinated. There are various reasons given for this, but the main point is that a high percentage of any population needs to be vaccinated for the drug to have the desired effect on the community at large.

Why are people reluctant to take their medicine? There are some, who knows how many, who still believe that the pandemic is a hoax, something made up by a secret cabal who run the world for their own nefarious purposes. The vaccine, they claim, is another way this secret government, the Deep State, will be able to control us all. There is some reason to wonder why such an effective, secret, worldwide conspiracy hasn’t been able to keep themselves secret from the conspiracy theorists, or why we can still talk about them in spite of their efforts at mind control. But never mind that.

The facts are stark and beyond genuine dispute. As of last weekend, there had been 62.3 million cases of covid-19 around the world, leading to 1.45 million deaths. This is still far less than the 1918-1919 pandemic that killed anywhere between 50 and 100 million people worldwide, but it is still a horrific number of casualties. Canada has lost more than 12,000 people to the disease, and this province has experienced 117,000 cases and 3,640 deaths, so far. These are real people, parents, grandparents, children and other loved ones, no longer with us. No amount of conspiracy theories can ignore that fact.

Other people are worried about the vaccine because they associate it with negative side effects, especially with a drug that has been produced in record time. Could there be unforeseen complications? Possibly, but companies and governments tend not to certify any drug unless they can be as sure as possible that such side effects are minimal, at least. Experience in the past has taught corporations that future legal liabilities can far outweigh any short-term profits from taking shortcuts with public medicine.

There is a commonly held belief that vaccinations have caused autism. This was first claimed by a doctor in the Lancet, the prestigious medical journal from the United Kingdom. However, after this claim had spread throughout the world, it was found that the doctor had falsified his stats and his results were completely fraudulent. He was struck off the registry and no longer allowed to practice medicine. But the damage had been done, and his false claims remain out there, influencing many parents when it comes to vaccinating their children.

Yes, this is a worrying time, and there will be apprehensive people when it comes to a covid-19 vaccine. And we have been fairly patient and obedient, even, in following the guidance of the medical experts when it comes to wearing face masks, social distancing, etc. Of course, there have been those who decided that their personal freedom was more important than their friends, families and neighbours health.

That reminds me of the Governor of South Dakota, who decided to let her residents decide for themselves whether to wear masks or not. Coincidentally, or not, South Dakota has the highest incidence of covid in the US, which is saying something. It is a hassle, sometimes, to go along with masks and social distancing, and not getting together with friends and family. It’s a weight we’re asked to carry.

But isn’t it worth it, even if you aren’t convinced that it’s necessary? It makes a difference. All medical officers of health, including in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, have recommended wearing masks, emphasising that they make a big difference in stopping the spread of covid. As we head towards the Christmas season, it may be a hardship to keep up the good work we’ve managed so far. But let’s try and make sure that we have a normal Christmas next year, because we did the right thing this time.

We should be proud of how we’ve handled things over the past nine months, and we can win this battle if we just hang on for a few months more. That is the hope; that is the goal. Don’t stand on your personal liberty: do this for the others, your family, friends, neighbours. Carry that weight for them.

For more information on measures against covid spread: http//eohu.ca/en/covid/covid-19-response-framework.

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