The surely difficult decision of moving to Level 3
I don’t know if it is just me but it doesn’t like like Premier Higgs is having much fun these days. He’s always been somewhat of a stoic but the body language these days would indicate he’s not exactly doing cartwheels on the way home.
It must have been difficult to move to Level 3. After nearly two years of the vast majority of people doing everything they where told to do - two shots and booster, masks, social distance, bubbles - we are now shut down almost to the level not seen since the first wave. I don’t know about you but my social media blew up yesterday and I got some sternly worded emails from colleagues.
One in particular stood out. He was apoplectic about the government’s talk of overwhelming the health care system. It didn’t make sense to him. 22 hospitals across the province and 104 COVID-19 patients. That’s an average of less than five patients per hospital. Nine people in intensive year, that is less than one person per two hospitals. Even the sternly worded prediction that we might reach the ghastly level of 220 hospitalizations by the end of January - that’s an average of 10 per hospital. In 2021, according to CIHI data, the taxpayers spent $3.9 billion on health care in New Brunswick and we can’t handle five patients, on average, per hospital?
He also questioned the 380+ health care workers off work isolating as a result of the pandemic. There are over 30,000 employees of Horizon and Vitalite. That’s only a little over 1%. Wouldn’t there be nearly that amount out during a normal flu season?
For me this ties back to the national conversation right now about health care capacity. If we can’t handle a crisis that puts 5 people in intensive care per average hospital, what would we do if a serious challenge came along?
Because I am not an expert in health care in any way, my instincts tend to be that we should leave this to the professionals. But I think there is enough here to warrant a deeper discussion about health care capacity and other important issues.
I would suggest there are a growing number of New Brusnwickers that would say we should just let this play out. Keep up the jabs. If we need annual boosters, no problem. Maybe keep up the masking in certain situations and certainly ring fence those who are the most vulnerable but don’t keep going for potentially years with this thing - lock downs, rapid tests, not-so-rapid tests, bubbles, schools on and off again, small business owners with their meme faces.
Unless a more severe strain comes along, classify it as endemic and treat it like a particularly virulent strain of the seasonal flu.
See. I’ve gone and violated my own rules.