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FORSETH – Those fractional COVID-19 numbers represent a lot of lives

DO WE CONTINUE THE TREND WE ARE ON, with government strongly encouraging people to self-isolate, and to maintain two metre spacing when we are out getting what should be considered ‘necessities’ – or should we open things up to allow for businesses (including bars) to perhaps re-open, but with strict guidelines as to social distancing?

That’s a very good question … and it’s one that has people with very strong opinions as to where we should be as a society during this coronavirus pandemic known as COVID-19.

Of the Scandinavian countries in Europe, Sweden had been the loosest with its regulations, however in just the past day they are taking a hard look at what that has meant for its citizens.

According to a news story today, in Bloomberg, it was noted the … Swedish experiment has drawn international bewilderment as schools, restaurants and cafes have remained open. And while other countries passed laws restricting movement, Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Lofven relied on the common sense of his fellow citizens to carry his country through the pandemic.

The story then went on to say … the number of Swedish deaths rose to 373 on Saturday, up 12% from Friday. That brings the rate per million in Scandinavia’s biggest economy to 36, compared with 29 in Denmark and 9 in Norway, where much tougher lock downs are in place

Admittedly this is a very small sample to make generalizations on, but given the fact Sweden had the laxest rules and regulations, and now has a death rate FOUR TIMES higher than neighbouring Norway, says a lot to me.

One individual on social media responded to that difference by saying;

I know that it’s not total deaths, I’m totally capable of reading. That’s a fractional difference especially considering their response. Should tell you something, but I’m guessing it won’t.

It should be noted, however, the very obvious … those ‘fractional differences’ are actual people, not just math equations. Should those very real people be the casualty of opening things up to allow more commerce? Personally, I think not, others disagree strongly.

Here are two more examples of what those differences look, and sound, like:

obviously they are people and obviously their lives matter. Trying to shame people for looking at things logically is ridiculous. It’s tossing an emotional bomb and has about as much argumentative merit as claiming that conservatives don’t “care” about the poor because they don’t think free stuff is the answer. Use arguments, not emotion

AND …

people die. You and I are going to die. It might be a bus slamming into you, it might be choking on lung fluids, it might be dementia.

There is significant evidence that up to a majority of covid deaths would have occurred anyways. Just as flu has killed 6000 Canadians in one bad season.

You, and all of the hand wringing citizens worldwide, are merely in such a state because this is new. Eventually, everything is going to have to reopen. And after we do that, more people will die, some from covid.

Closing stores, doing head stands, groveling before the WHO, washing your hands, none of that changes that people are going to die.

Here’s the thing, though … and it relates directly to those of us here in British Columbia.

On March 12, once news of the spread of COVID-19 was becoming more widely known, public gatherings became restricted to a maximum of 250 people.  Four days later, on March 16, that was reduced further to no more than 50 people … and bars and nightclubs were ordered to be shut down.

Regrettably, in that short time, with many NOT practicing safe social distancing … gathering in groups … playing contact sports … and for other reasons … COVID-19 became more widespread.

On March 16 we had three deaths announced as a direct result of COVID-19 – given our population of 5.07 billion that’s not too bad, right?

One day later, on March 17, that had jumped to seven … March 19 it was eight … March 20 it went to nine … and then on March 21 to 10.

A week later on March 28, there had been a total of 17 people die as a direct result of complications due to COVID-19.

Then, as this past week went by, that number continued to increase to where it now stands at 35 as of yesterday.

That number represents a death rate of 6.9 people out of every million residents.

In true mathematics, those are indeed ‘fractional’ differences because that’s what mathematics is … and regrettably it’s also how some are looking at the situation.

Here then, are some other numbers – as of yesterday.

As of yesterday, two hundred and ten (210) people were in hospital (including 64 in Intensive / Acute Care).

It should be noted, however, that there have ALSO been 673 full recoveries of people who had stayed home to recover after coming down with COVID-19 – or who had recovered after being hospitalized!

As hard as it has been in some cases, to get people to co-operate with the directives of B.C.’s medical health officer Bonnie Henry, those directives are making an impact; a positive one.

Our death rate in the population is much lower than in many countries – especially our poorly prepared neighbours to the south who perhaps thought they were immune to it.

AND … it is dramatically lower than in Sweden where some at least feel they had the right approach with how they were at least initially dealing with the situation.

Three days ago, on social media, I saw the comment … I’m keeping my eye on Sweden. I think people will be surprised. I think bankrupting Canada and the U.S. and dozens of other countries is ridiculously unnecessary. Good luck, Sweden.

Sorry … luck has nothing to do with it, as the latest from Sweden shows … and even worse, in the U.S., where COVID-19 was blindly ignored for far too long.

Stay safe – stay healthy – and I hope that you and your family do not suffer and become what some are calling a … ‘fractional difference’.

Alan Forseth is a Kamloops resident and former member of the Reform Party of Canada and the B.C. Reform Party, and a past and current member of the BC Conservative Party. His blog is My Thoughts on Politics and More.

About Mel Rothenburger (7468 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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