COVID-19 virus (file photo).

COVID-19 virus (file photo).

OPINION: How to avoid a comedy of errors

I will have been married eight years by the time October rolls around.

I would argue being married has changed me for the better. I’m more resilient, more confident, more self-aware, more empathetic and more loving because of sharing my life with my wife. I realize most of you know me just as a cantankerous, hairy 30-something with a caffeine problem and too many opinions, so you’re just going to have to take my word for it.

Among the most important changes I’ve noticed in me is the ability to communicate. I’m certainly not perfect at it, but I know I’ve come a long way from when I started out. I feel I can better articulate my thoughts and feelings with varying degrees of success, tact and clarity. It’s not perfect, but I put in effort.

If a schmuck like me can learn to communicate, what on earth makes it so difficult for the provincial government?

Between frantic changes in the B.C. Centre for Disease Control’s guidelines, the unexplained but welcome continuance of local health area data releases and simultaneous, perpetual withholding of timely, in-depth, daily local information from the Ministry of Health, the tragic comedy of errors we’ve seen from the province is nothing short of stupefying.

Let’s briefly focus on what we do know. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the Omicron variant has seen a higher infection rate than previous versions of COVID-19. We’ve seen that here in Agassiz-Harrison, where we’ve had two weeks in a row with more than 50 cases in the local health area. For perspective, we’ve surpassed 2020’s recorded case total in two weeks. It took roughly five months of 2021 to reach the number of people COVID-19 has reached in the first two weeks of 2022.

We do know COVID-19 has spread faster than it ever has in Agassiz-Harrison. What continues to be unreleased to the public is local hospitalizations, deaths, ICU admissions and more – metrics that have been demanded of journalists and would undoubtedly bring about a clearer picture of the local situation.

The shift the Omicron variant has created in the provincial government’s response to COVID-19 has rippled outward and created wave after wave of unanswered questions about testing, isolation protocols, small business impacts and so much more.

While the behaviour is different, what the public and journalists ask from the government is the same. In addition to more transparent COVID-19 data, the public needs clear, concise instructions to not only mitigate the spread of COVID-19 but to gradually go back to life as we knew it. I’m certain we would all prefer those instructions not to be updated multiple times per day like it was last week, but let’s face it – much of this is wishful thinking anyway.

Amid the confusion, I’ve found it comforting in the past couple of years to continue looking for the constants. Provincial health officers say they haven’t changed. Vaccination remains the best way to combat severe infection. Being unvaccinated puts you in a high-risk category for severe illness. Much like the hotly-contested seatbelt or controversial bulletproof vest, while the COVID-19 vaccine does not offer a perfect solution, it has been proven time and again to provide protection where it counts.

Masking up, keeping distance and assessing risks in public gathering situations add further layers of protection and prevention, which will cause numbers to curve back down once again. The more people put up these measures of protection, the fewer people get sick. The fewer people get sick, the less high-risk individuals – including the unvaccinated – are exposed. The fewer people get exposed, the fewer get sick, and so on until either this pandemic ends or Judgement Day’s trumpets sound. I would frankly prefer the former, which is why I got vaccinated and why I will continue to exercise caution until we squash this thing once and for all.

While my colleagues and I continue to fight for information, I would implore you to continue to stay the course: get vaccinated, mask up and choose your public outings carefully. While COVID-19 isn’t over and done with yet, the end of that long tunnel gets closer day by day.


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