WHEREAS I APPRECIATE the first three paragraphs of Coun. Dennis Walsh’s guest column here at the Armchair Mayor, dated Feb. 8, and I definitely echo the kudo’s directed at Publisher Mel and his determination to ensure free speech and ideological exchange, the rest of his column turned out to be just a reiteration of the same unsound nonsense Mr. Walsh has been pushing since the beginning, with the addition of a few new ones.
I take issue when anyone … anyone with a public voice, especially an influential electoral voice, says or writes complete and utter fabrications, and I will always go straight there to call it out. Previously Mr. Walsh did this by quoting the CDC itself incorrectly and incompletely.
Today he says that the restrictions and mandates have been “largely ineffective and uneven,” which is just simply factually incorrect, as literally … lives have been saved.
That’s not rhetoric, that’s fact. I don’t need to drop any statistics on that here, we all know them, we have literally lived them. These days we all know someone who has had it and likely at least know of someone who was hospitalized with it, and the unluckiest of us have lost friends and loved ones because of it.
It is not a stretch at all for untrained people to understand that attendance, density and patronage limits, as well as mask use has kept more people from getting sick. Then we learned that by vaccinating, we would be less sick, use the hospital less and were contagious for a lesser length of time. That’s not rhetoric, that’s scientific fact, and it makes sense to most of us.
Obviously, those hard statistics are a lot easier to concretely prove than proving that wearing a mask or getting the shot actually saved a single other life … it’s hard to prove a negative … so that’s when we resort to regional comparative statistics, and we don’t have to look far.
Florida is the clearest test tube, and failed miserably when they cancelled mandates and restrictions last fall, and by mid December daily case counts went from less than 2,000 new cases per day to the 75,000 range in less than a week, resulting in a noticeable bump in deaths.
There are other as-notable examples elsewhere in the world where the early relaxation of restrictions equals daily case increases, inevitably showing an increase in hospitalizations, and deaths.
Just this week, a number of regions are considering new moves towards a lessening of restrictions, including Saskatchewan, quoting data that shows it may be time. Future data will show how that goes. The rest of us will follow this new data. Mr. Walsh has been talking about ending restrictions and mandates since early fall last year, when the data was clear that it was not yet time, far from it.
I’m not going to enter into the discussion about the so described ‘witch hunt.’ Mr. Walsh could have used the figurative modern definition which includes a campaign to ostracise a person or group holding ‘unorthodox political opinions.’
Cancel culture has been described as a modern-day witch hunt; that would be an interesting use of the term, and would have elicited an interesting conversation about the dynamics of a populous … but he didn’t, he cut/pasted Wikipedia’s introductory metaphorical paragraph for the term, and added their reference to ‘hysteria and moral panic.’ Now hang on … ya … no.
This is the word search of someone who needs to find definitions to catch attention and justify a complete lack of data to back up their own assertions. Joe Rogan on Spotify would be proud of that kind of word usage. The past’s hysterical, moral toned ‘witch hunt’ was satisfied by weighing the lady. If she is heavier than the goose, she’s a witch, so burn her!
THAT is hysteria.
Mr. Walsh, modern data does not a witch hunt make, there is no actual hysteria, no real moral panic, just a following of hard data. Using the term in this way is either unfortunate, or it is attention seeking using flashy media-friendly headline words.
But hey … If you can’t go science, go Salem on ‘em, why not?
I will agree that one day we will all be treating COVID vaccinations as being for those in the most vulnerable of groups, as he says — the elderly and immune compromised, where the benefits of vaccination will continue to certainly outweigh the risks of infection. One day it will likely be rolled into the annual flu shot, some will get it, most won’t. But that’s once the pandemic is history.
The thing is, the WHO has NOT yet cancelled the pandemic resolution … we are still actually in the middle of this. It is not history, no matter how much we want it to be so. Suggesting we should overnight flip before the data says we should, is foolhardy and just simply stupid. Like mentioned before, we will watch Saskatchewan, and log real data.
Like most people, I will patiently follow the actual data, without coming up with my own, and I will … like the vast majority of us, remain calm.
Mr. Walsh also makes a Branch Covidian reference; That’s an extremely unfortunate phrase, as it is a play on the Branch Davidians who were a tiny extreme religious cult sect that ended up being a suicide cult. In essence he is aligning a tiny group like that with a global respiratory disease that have killed 5.7 million innocent people.
He is saying that as if those that believe in science and the data, therefore support the vaccine and other measures taken … are actually involved in an extreme minority cult.
They … we … are not. In fact, we aren’t any definition of a minority.
In fact, 4.8 billion people in the world … that’s BILLION … have had one shot, and 4.2 billion are fully vaccinated. Where it is fair to state that these 4 odd billion people are in agreement that vaccines and other restrictions are reasonable, those numbers make the Covidian cult argument fall apart by the sheer volume. That’s like saying that the Catholic Church with 1.3 billion members … is a cult.
Today, 4 billion people are taking part in Mr. Walsh’s ‘experiment’ … when in reality they are actually just a continuation of the same smallpox, etc. experiment … which went pretty good, says … well … everyone. History will show that the COVID vaccine worked, full stop.
“It is time to end mandates and end all restrictions and just accept we will never eradicate this virus.” Ya, remember … Florida tried that and people died, but besides that he is literally justifying future illness and deaths of innocent peoples, even though through using science and experience, we actually know what to do to mitigate harm.
But not for our Mr. Walsh; ‘Oh well … grandma died? Que sera sera.’ This seems to be his new mantra.
Let’s be razor clear here: Mr. Walsh is not a scientist, not a healthcare official or an epidemiologist, or the WHO which has the professionals at hand to determine the appropriate steps. It is completely inappropriate for him to say ‘it is time’ for anything.
He has zero knowledge, zero experience and zero accreditation to be making any statement regarding what the greater society should or should not do regarding their health care options or choices.
It is one thing for a commentor on Facebook to make such claims, but using his position on council as a megaphone to do so, once again is a massive, overwhelming disservice to council and the community in which he serves.
I, too, believe in free speech, but when from a pulpit of a public position, one must, must temper the way that speech is shared with the awareness to ‘do no harm.’ Mr. Walsh has repeatedly ignored that responsibility, to his own community’s detriment.
Finally, regarding his personal coffee shop business: Honestly, I don’t know why he decided to sell, I never went in. I can hazard that at some point buying a cup of coffee from someone this public and controversial, can only ever be an intentional sign of support, and given the option many will go elsewhere … because they just can’t support it or just don’t want anything to do with it. A cup of coffee is just not worth it.
Like I said … I never went in.
Mr. Walsh would have been far better off to have been mute from the beginning, simply state that ‘due to a medical issue I am unable to be vaccinated but will certainly continue my work on Council remotely’ … and kept everything else, everything, to himself.
Then the only discussion about Coun. Walsh today would be about his votes on the budget.
Instead … look what we got.
David Johnson is a Kamloops resident, community volunteer and self described maven of all things Canadian.