J. Randall Murphy
Yup it's wild. There were 3-4 people with them there.
I'm glad you decided to engage on this, because although we seem to have some very different views, we both respect the process by which differing views should be resolved. So it should be interesting to see how this unravels. I hope you're up to it. Also, although I don't agree with much of the way the pandemic has been managed, I personally have not broken any of the rules or restrictions in place.
For anyone who suggests that might be hypocritical of me, I will say that there is a difference between what the better approach might be, and one that works to some degree, but not as well. So if that's the boat we're in, then we still all need to do our part to make sure it is as effective as it can be, regardless of whatever else we might think. At least to a point, but I won't get into that now.
I hate Nenshi, but he's right about this. Lockdowns are not more deadly than Covid.
Whether or not lockdowns are or aren't more deadly than Covid depends on how we frame that debate, and what sort of data we allow. Are we going to only allow the subset of data that supports our particular frame of reference? Or are we going to consider the bigger picture?
To determine this in a fair minded way, I submit that if the main issue here is the cost in lives, then the considerations need to include the all the consequences of lockdowns and restrictions, and not only the issue of viral transmission.
To do otherwise would be to insist on being willfully ignorant of factors other than viral transmission that contribute to loss of life. I don't imagine you would want to take the tunnel vision approach, but we might as well be clear on it. Otherwise there is no way to know tell who is right or wrong or somewhere in between.
Can we agree on this point before continuing that issue?
They are damaging, to be sure - so we should minimize them. And the way to minimize them is to wear masks and abide by the lockdown. The more we do it, the shorter it will be, and hopefully be avoided further.
That is split into two different issues: 1. Masks & 2. Lockdowns. So let's look at those two issues:
Masks may or may not do anything to prevent a COVID-19 infection. For example, where there is no virus, a mask is pointless, and no scientist can argue that. So the question then becomes: How many people are pointlessly wearing a mask at any given time? On top of that, how many people falsely believe that despite it being pointless, it is actually "protecting" them or anyone else?
A specific answer to this question is almost impossible to ascertain, but a little extrapolation on what we know from the data suggests that at any given time, the virus simply isn't present in the vast majority of individual situations where people are. It's not ubiquitously floating around in the air that everybody breathes. Therefore the vast majority of the time, it's totally pointless to be wearing a mask.
However, we do know that there are certain places where there is a higher risk of exposure, but even in those situations there is no guarantee of exposure, and even if exposed, there's no guarantee of infection, or that a mask will prevent the infection, because there are other routes for infection besides simple breathing.
Nevertheless, there are reasonable grounds for people in high-risk situations to wear a mask, because given enough time, the likelihood of becoming infected will approach near certainty. Those places have been identified as medical facilities, long-term care facilities, jails, retirement homes, places where people are self-isolating due to being tested positive, etc.
However for the many millions of the rest of the population, their mask is at this very moment, doing them no good at all. In fact, it's contributing to a lower quality of life, unnecessary fear, and adding to the litter of garbage on the street along with cigarette butts, plastic bags, sanitary wipes, and used condoms.
Bottom Line: Masks are an obvious "Yes" in some places, but not in others, so only high-risk places should be included in any requirement that they be worn. That is sort of the way it is already, and the way it was before the enforcement came into play. So I don't see the justification for enforcement bylaws. Outside the designated high-risk areas, masks should be entirely voluntary.
Do Lockdowns Work:
Again, how exactly do we define "work" and by what standard are we measuring that? A leaky paddle boat will "work", but maybe a bridge will work better, and fewer people will drown along the way. I signed the Great Barrington Declaration as a concerned citizen because when we look at the bigger picture, lockdowns have the potential to cost more lives than the virus itself.
I have included in other posts, links to papers that say the same thing, as well as references to statistics on the number of deaths caused by poverty, and a WHO report on the effects of the lockdowns on poverty. These numbers are in the many millions worldwide. There are now over 50,000 medical & public health scientists and practitioners who also agree with this concern.
Therefore I'm sorry to say, that while lockdowns might "work", it's certainly questionable whether or not they're the best option. We can't even be sure that in the places where they have been alleged to have worked, that they had anything to do with the result. At best, those are only unverifiable correlations. It may be the case that other factors played a much more significant role.
Bottom Line: A Lockdown will obviously lower the risk of transmission of a virus that is present in a place that is locked down. However widespread lockdowns that affect low-risk places that we don't know have any virus at all aren't justifiable, especially when there is a very real possibility that widespread lockdowns may cost more lives from the indirect economic and social consequences than the virus itself.
That's the problem here - people not following the rules and not being stringent enough with enforcement (or the policy itself) has lead to more and longer lockdowns. Simply because people don't want to be told what to do.
Relatively few situations seem to fit that assumption. The evidence shows that higher numbers of serious cases, are in the high-risk facilities mentioned earlier, where despite taking the precautions, the virus has been transmitted between people living there, or has unintentionally migrated from there to others outside those facilities, due to carriers not being aware that they had been exposed.
For those who are testing positive outside those high-risk areas, contact tracing has been very difficult. We simply don't know for sure how they were exposed, and therefore we don't know if masks or physical distancing were contributing factors or not. We can make an educated guess based on certain factors that are known, and make some broad assumptions, but when it comes to radically and negatively affecting the lives and livelihoods of millions of people, we need to do better.
Lockdowns are not caused by the virus, they are caused by the Government, so putting the responsibility for lockdowns on people instead of Government is a bit like blaming the victim, especially when a closer look at the consequences of lockdowns makes it very uncertain that they are the best route to take.
Not necessarily. Concern about whether or not you can feed your kids and put a roof over their heads because you can't work isn't childish at all. There are perfectly healthy families out there now who are losing their homes, people sleeping in their cars, people committing suicide. Calling it childish is just a little too glib.
My freedom to live outweighs their freedom to protest. It's quite a simple value proposition, quite frankly. I'm glad criminal charges have been laid, as well as tickets for not obeying the bylaw.
That's a completely specious argument, but making it personal like that gives it an air of righteousness. The reality is that none of those people were any threat to your life at all, or for that matter, anyone else's. If they were such a big threat to anyone's life, why weren't they all falling dead on the street from COVID? Why aren't you dead right now?
Studies show that if you get COVID, there's a 40-90% chance it would be so mild you don't even know you have it. Not to mention that so far as I know, you personally aren't in a high-risk group. So no. Those protesters were no threat to your "freedom to live" at all. But nice try. It would make a great sound byte for the propaganda machine.
Something else to consider is what the protesters wanted. A significant number of poster boards were expressing a concern over the loss of their livelihoods and collateral loss of life as a consequence of the lockdowns. These are legitimate concerns, that from the point of view of someone who is facing eviction, and is wondering how they are going to provide for their family, is a much more direct threat to their lives than the virus.
So their concern about their lives are no less valid than yours. The difference is that some bully bylaw officer can take them down and fine them. Which brings up the issue of the right of citizens to protest. The only reason that any of these restrictions are in place is because we're in an AEMA situation, otherwise none of these measures would have any legal validity.
So it's fair to ask if AEMA measures are really necessary. To answer that we need to have a closer look at just how bad the situation is, not how bad we thought it might get when we knew less about it. We now know that this is a disease is so mild that 40-90% of the people who get it don't even know they have it. There simply aren't masses of people dropping dead in the street from the virus.
The vast majority of the rest recover fine within two weeks, the majority of the the rest also recover without hospitalization, and that only a small percentage end-up in a hospital bed. Most of them also survive, and virtually all who don't are already suffering from something that any number of other things besides COVID could be what finishes them off.
The Province has thousands of available beds and we are not near capacity. People aren't dying in the street from COVID, but there are people dying in the street from pandemic management fallout. We're in an economic crisis, not because healthy people couldn't work if they wanted to, but because the government has forced them not to. These factors do not in my mind justifying AEMA measures.
We all know the facts, man.
Not really. Some of us are more well informed than others ( including yours truly ). For many others, a lot of fear based assumptions are being made that could be making things worse, not better. They are not childish offhanded opinions either. Again, read the WHO paper on this and consider that some 50,000 medical & public health scientists and practitioners also have the same concerns. It's not reasonable to think their concerns are baseless. Additional info that supports my present view is included elsewhere on this thread, and in some new posts below.
The world knows the facts. Lockdowns work. Masks work. If we would have been wearing the masks and not being stupid in our province, we wouldn't have needed a lockdown in the first place. But we didn't, and now we do, and numbers are already going down.
We've just been through all that and it's far from that cut and dried.
I love you man, but right is right here.
Hey, at least we're having the discussion right here. And at least we're healthy enough to have it. Like I said at the start, I haven't personally broken a single bylaw. I am doing my part, because even if it is a leaky paddle boat, it's the boat we're in, and we have to do our part to get to the other side. I also have a bad habit of sticking up for the oppressed instead of the PTB, which can make me unpopular with the majority.
But for me it's not a popularity contest anyway. It's perfectly fine for people to complain about public policy and offer what they think is a better solution, so long as they do it at the same time as they are doing their part. Dragging the boat down just because they don't like it isn't the answer. Hopefully now that the vaccines are on the way, they'll assist in stomping out the pandemic, and things will get back to normal by next summer.
In the meantime, I hope you and your family stay well. Keep-up the conversation if it's not too draining for you. I'm not sure where exactly it should go from here. My final thought to throw out there is the following:
We've heard that the reasoning for the AEMA measures is to "protect the system from being overloaded". We still have thousands of available beds, and at present, they're making sure we have even more. But then we'd need support staff to work them. Could it be that the Government has invoked AEMA measures to keep the numbers so low as to not need those 11,000 healthcare support workers they want to get rid of?