LETTER:Government leaders are missing in action on COVID 

A pair of previous Letters to the Editor have made the point safety measures like masking, distancing and indoor capacity restrictions reduce the risk of contracting COVID.

Well here we are, again, infections are stable but still up from the date restrictions were lifted by the province. Health care practitioners predicted this. It makes me wonder whether our top medical officer is following government advice instead of the government following broad expert advice from the medical practitioners. Recently I was made aware that the chief fire marshal of Ontario had requested (or is it ordered) fire departments to place more emphasis on applying fire and building codes in rural settings because several lives have been lost. Well what about the 12,000 plus lives that have been lost to COVID related complications?

Over a month ago I wrote our MPP Todd Smith about my concern for dropping all restrictions. His office wrote back, and I quote, “The primary reason for many of the restrictions we did have in place was to protect the capacity of our health system”. Hmmm. Wouldn’t protecting individual lives protect the health care system?

I have been avoiding non-essential contacts with people I do not know for the last two+ years as well as masking and attempting to distance myself in high risk environments. I shop by internet where possible, have things delivered, etc. Lately I had to make four trips to local retailers. In one store everyone was masked. In the other stores half the staff as well as half the patrons were masked.

Yes, masks are inconvenient. But so is a covid related infection. When smoking in public was banned, we heard cries that it was an attack on our liberty. When the wearing of seat belts was mandated again we had fringe elements decrying an attack on our liberty. When helmet legislation for motorcycle riders came into effect, we heard that our liberty was in peril.

These three examples were instituted in part to protect our health care system, and in part to minimize the impact that a death or paralyzing injury has on family and close relations.

A lot of legislation has been enacted ( highway code, building code, fire code, etc.) to reduce risk of catastrophic events from impacting our lives. The precedent exists for government action. The other half of the battle facing us is the after effects of COVID infection.

Dr Tam the top federal medical officer recently spoke on what has been termed “long COVID” by the media. It has been recognized but little is known about how it occurs, what treatments exist nor do we know the severity of the impact on our health care system. This is just another reason to focus on keeping people safe and as a direct result keeping our health care system safe. I find the lack of action by our government to be irresponsible in light of the devastating effect that Covid has had on our society. A recent article in The Lancet has blamed governments in general for not reviewing their intervention related to COVID and worse have not even begun talking about how to better manage future disasters.

We are witnessing a financially and emotionally costly lack of leadership. Our government leaders are quite frankly missing in action. Ontarians need government leaders to take action.

Eric De Pauw

South Marysburgh