“We cannot manage to contain the (Covid 19) disease unless we change the way we live (and) have enough vaccines that are effective for everyone. We can’t just go into denial and wish our lives were back to normal. It is a once-in-a-lifetime natural disaster of catastrophic proportions
“It is just thoroughly shocking. When we think of Pandemics we don’t think well resourced high-income countries are going to fall apart at the seams – but that is exactly what we have seen.”
The quote is from Professor Raina McIntyre, an Australian academic specializing in bio-security. It is identical in intent to the message delivered by BC Public Health officer Bonnie Henry a day earlier – but only in intent. Bonnie Henry speaks softly but with the calm assurance of the velvet glove.
Prof. McIntyre is Aussie blunt. A glove but with a few nails sewn around the knuckles to make sure you are listening.
Up-over, if that’s an acceptable opposite to down-under, there is another view of Covid 19 in Britain where the first wave was grossly underestimated and the second wave is threatening the foundations of a once revered health care system.
“The first time around, it’s almost like a once-in-a-lifetime kind of medical challenge,” said Paul Whitaker, a respiratory doctor in Bradford, in northern England, where the second wave of virus victims is threatening to engulf the defenders. He likened the first wave battle to “the spirit of the blitz” – the time when mass air raids were part of everyday life and “stay calm and carry-on” was a determining morale slogan.
But the “blitz” feeling was lost to a large degree when the first wave was curbed but not subdued – and the curbs and restrictions were removed or reduced even as the second wave announced its threatening arrival.
The BBC reported: “Making matters even worse, hospitals are already receiving the usual wintertime stream of patients with influenza and other illnesses that can fill them above 95 percent of capacity even in a normal year.”
In France and Germany tight restrictions were also being relaxed – but quickly restored as the pandemic came prancing back with unfettered strength.
In Australia last Tuesday the city of Melbourne lifted the restrictions that had held the city in tight shut down for three months. There has been wide rejoicing – but with constant reminders from London, Paris and Berlin, that Covid 19 will not go quietly until scientists find a vaccine to force it to retreat.
While we are waiting, mask wearing should have been made mandatory – as requested by the all too few medical doctors and nurses and paramedics who stand between us and the invader. Health officer Henry seems confident the general public will volunteer to wear masks without command.
We can only hope her trust in us to do the right thing is not unfounded.