“It doesn’t make sense, after 10 days, putting the kids in self-isolation.”

At a time like this it is critical that we have confidence in our health authorities and respect their directives. CTV News reported in an article yesterday that Elsie Roy Elementary School in Vancouver had a case of Covid-19 and ten days later parents received a letter requiring students to isolate for four remaining days, back-dating to the last day of exposure.

As one mother pointed out, until this time the children “were in school, they were everywhere, going outside, just living our lives normally.” In other words, students had opportunity to spread the virus for ten days.

The delayed response is at best evidence of a system that is clearly not working and at worst a sign of negligence and incompetence.

The delay in response by the Vancouver Health Authority is disconcerting on its own, but the directive to isolate for the last four of fourteen days indicates a weakness in the interpretation and application of isolation guidelines.

The directors could have explained the ten day delay to parents and assured them this would not happen again, but to send families into isolation for four days is totally futile at this point. Anyone can see that. It adds insult to injury to parents who find out too late the risk they were exposed to, and then are required to respond like puppets to an unreasonable order.

The delay in response by the Vancouver Health Authority is disconcerting on its own, but the directive to isolate for the last four of fourteen days indicates a weakness in the interpretation and application of isolation guidelines. Even if we can ignore the delayed response time, this lack of judgment is difficult to overlook.

It is precisely this kind of decision making that causes people to lose confidence in health authorities. It would be advisable to investigate how such a lapse in judgment happened and to consider a possible change in management. This is not a time when we can afford to lose public confidence in health authorities.

The Cornavirus isn’t so good for the drug trade

US$5M worth of marijuana seized at Canada-U.S. border the June 17 CTV News headline reads.

More than 1.5 tonnes of marijuana was found in a truck entering the U.S. from Canada, American border officials allege.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) says the 1,517-kilogram stash was seized on June 13 from a truck that had tried to cross into New York state from southern Ontario, carrying 58 cardboard boxes supposedly full of peat moss.

Another bust, eight days earlier, at the same crossing involved an excess of 800 kilograms of marijuana.

The report indicated that, “Even if the two large seizures were not part of the equation, the weight of illegal drugs seized by border guards in the Buffalo area since the closure would be nearly 20 times what it was during the same period last year. Most of the drugs seized have been marijuana.”

It appears that with less traffic there may be opportunity for more scrutiny at borders.

Other news posts note an increase in drug related overdoses during the pandemic. A June 11 headline reads, Overdose deaths spike as B.C. reports record number of fatalities in May  Tragically, British Columbia reported 170 overdose deaths in the month of May.

Cory Guest, public education coordinator at Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS), states, “We’re not able to correlate our increase of substance use calls directly to COVID-19, but it’s safe to say we’d be naive if we didn’t think it had an impact on that.”

Isolation, the closing of services such as Narcotics Anonymous, gyms and other supports has created increased challenges for those who are drug dependent. When this is over we will look back and see that some things could have been done better. However the lockdown appears to be effective in preventing deaths from the virus.

Here is the latest, June 18, worldometer comparison of deaths per million within the Scandinavian countries that enforced strict lockdown compared with Sweden that did not.

Sweden – 500

Denmark – 104

Norway – 45

Finland – 59.

 

Not Alone on Easter Sunday

It is strange to think that churches are closed today and there will be no corporate Easter celebrations. I regret to admit, my husband and I have not been faithful attendees at church for some years. But I cherish memories of Easters past. As a little girl my mother would sew beautiful Easter dresses for me and my sisters for Easter Sunday. As adults we would gather after church at my grandmother’s home. She always had marshmallow Easter eggs for us and Easter Bread.

In my mind Easter is associated with spring flowers, freshly scented Spring air, birds, and robin eggs. I recall the special hymns of the season and my heart is stirred.

Yesterday I wrote a poem. It was Saturday, the day between Good Friday and Easter.

A Gray Day

An agonizing cry splits the skies,

As he hangs his head and dies.

Life lies suspended between

An empty cross

And a sealed tomb.

Doom hovers in a barren land that quakes beneath the weight.

The curtain is rent.

The sun is darkened.

While graves yield their dead.

A sunless day awaits.

Too quickly the bright rays burst,

And birds sing in chorus,

Resurrection songs of morning,

While blood-stained spikes

Lie on the ground,

A remnant of a gray day.

We move so quickly from Good Friday to Easter Sunday. Such stark contrasts. I was reminded, yesterday, of what a bleak day Saturday must have been for Christ’s followers. There is not even a hint that they looked forward to a resurrection. Although Jesus told them what would happen to him, they couldn’t grasp it. Saturday was a gray, sunless day indeed.

What gets me about the Easter story is not only that his disciples did not believe, but the fact that it was religious leaders that stirred up the mob to demand that Pilate crucify Christ. Religious leaders. Get that.

It wasn’t the prostitutes and sinners. It wasn’t the atheists. It wasn’t even the political leaders of the day, although they went after the disciples later, and had John the Baptist imprisoned earlier.

People can be cruel. We can be cruel. The other day someone said to me, “Compassion can be cruel.” I thought about that for awhile and decided he was right. In our obsession to defend one cause we can be totally blinded to another need. The religious leaders thought they were defending the faith. Their religion was being threatened. So, the correct thing to do was annihilate the perceived threat. This was completely contrary to the teaching of their faith, to love God and to love others…and not to kill. But they couldn’t handle a little bit of controversy in their midst.

We are told Pilate believed they delivered Christ to be crucified out of envy. That is an interesting thought to ponder. In the book of Proverbs we read, Wrath is cruel…but who can stand before envy…. Jealousy is more dangerous and cruel than anger.

My thinking is that the religious leaders felt they had something to lose and it was probably fairly wrapped up in their pride. As we have heard, Pride goeth before a fall.

My husband and I tried to continue to go to church but after a time we found we simply could no longer “keep up appearances.”

“Please come home,” someone begged us. That is the point. Church no longer feels like home. We no longer feel like we belong there. It shouldn’t be this way. But it is.

So, on this Easter Sunday, we are not alone. Strange thought.

Have you ever asked how this life was meant to be lived? Outside my window birds flit from branch to branch. They peck at the ground. They build nests. They lay eggs. They fly south for the winter. They return. Seems pretty simple.

The coronavirus isolation has made me see how we have complicated life. For some reason the high-rises I see grouped together, casting their long shadows, leaving streets in gloom all day, are halting my attention. I keep looking up at them. I keep thinking about them. I think about the elevators. About how complicated it is to get in and out of them now. It is as though they are symbolic of a bigger problem.

What Easter means to me is that every life is of infinite value. We must save lives. And life is worth living. Sins can be forgiven. We can have new life. And the question remains, How is this life meant to be lived?

Maybe It’s Not an April Fool’s Joke

Yesterday I read an article about social media posts that caused alarm for a lot of people. Later the party concerned claimed this was only an April Fool’s joke, when confronted by RCMP. Here is the report:

The Osoyoos RCMP have addressed “alarming” social media posts that claim individuals will be canvassing door to door in the community seeking places for seasonal workers to stay.

Combine this with another article I saw this morning, and it does not seem so far-fetched, because if we don’t have farm workers in the fields in a timely manner, then our worst fears may come to pass–that the food supply chain breaks down.

This is urgent. And it’s not a joke. I hope those in decision making positions are paying attention.

It may be time for some of us who are out of work to learn farming skills. In my community, around this time of year, I begin to see busloads of mostly seniors of East Asian descent head to the blueberry fields. I seriously wonder how the blueberries will fare this growing season.

Each year I pray for rain in season and good harvests. This past year blockades, market closures and livestock epidemics have affected food supplies. The coronavirus is a significant threat, but we could be facing something even more devastating if we don’t have a harvest.

Right now Europeans are in urgent need of migrant workers normally arriving from Eastern Europe to harvest ripened crops (see article). “Send forth laborers” is taking on new meaning and urgency.

What Canada Isn’t Doing that South Korea Has Done re COVID-19

Seeing that South Korea is logging a notable success rate in controlling the coronavirus, I’ve tried to investigate what they are doing and to compare the actions taken to what is happening in Canada.

Several things stood out for me in the article, Coronavirus cases have dropped sharply in South Korea. What’s the secret to its success? written by Dennis Normile on Mar. 17, 2020.

Note the following quote from the article and read each sentence carefully. (Underlines are mine.)

High-risk patients with underlying illnesses get priority for hospitalization, says Chun Byung-Chul, an epidemiologist at Korea University. Those with moderate symptoms are sent to repurposed corporate training facilities and spaces provided by public institutions, where they get basic medical support and observation. Those who recover and test negative twice are released. Close contacts and those with minimal symptoms whose family members are free of chronic diseases and who can measure their own temperatures are ordered to self-quarantine for 2 weeks. A local monitoring team calls twice daily to make sure the quarantined stay put and to ask about symptoms. Quarantine violators face up to 3 million won ($2500) fines. If a recent bill becomes law, the fine will go up to 10 million won and as much as a year in jail.

In addition I read the following:

Legislation enacted since then gave the government authority to collect mobile phone, credit card, and other data from those who test positive to reconstruct their recent whereabouts. That information, stripped of personal identifiers, is shared on social media apps that allow others to determine whether they may have crossed paths with an infected person.

Note that people who test positive leave a trail of possible places where the people they have encountered may have been infected. For instance, if an infected person goes to the bank, then buys groceries, then goes to a physiotherapist, then gets their hair cut, all of those people who served them are at high risk. This kind of information is not being shared publicly in Canada.

I was reminded of this image.

Related image

Paradigm InfoStream: INTERVIEW – Cat Tracker Researcher, Brandon …
petlynxinfostream.blogspot.com

 

Today Canada is at approximately 1000 infections. If we follow the trajectory of other countries, we could be at 10,000 in seven days, and who knows what happens from there.

Last week I published an article which I have now removed. In it I spoke of minimum, to moderate, to maximum caution and protective measures. I believe it is now critical to practice maximum caution and protection to prevent the spread of the virus, as we have been instructed. But if we want to be as effective as South Korea in stemming the spread of the virus then we may need to be willing to implement similar measures.

Insurance companies are refusing to cover travelers who do not return to Canada during this epidemic, by categorizing it as an Act of God. If this is the case, then the following may be a good meditation:

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and forgive their sins, and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

 

Should Canada Bring Citizens Home From China?

In this politically correct environment it can be considered racism to protect oneself from someone suspected of carrying the coronavirus. A woman on a flight was asked to wear a mask by the crew because she was coughing. She saw this as racist since she was of Asian descent and she caught a cold in Mexico. She went to the media about it. Of course this makes it difficult for anyone to make a call for protection.

Every four days the number of infected people in China doubles, and we don’t know if we are getting an accurate report. Two Canadians are quarantined on a cruise ship that has twenty confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

My question is, where might our political correctness be taking us? If we bring home some three hundred Canadians, who very possibly have been exposed to the virus in China, where it is spreading uncontrollably, what are we doing for the rest of Canada? Are we going to be able to contain the virus if any number of the Canadians from China show symptoms or test positive?

The latest word is that a plane is leaving Friday, with another one to follow next week.

Let’s consider the following. Not only will the Canadians traveling from China have to be quarantined, so will the pilot and the crew and possibly the baggage handlers, as well as airport security. When they arrive they will need further transport and some entity will need to supply them with food and accommodations, implying contact, again. They will need to have medical check-ups by medical teams who then will be exposed. If they have the virus, they will need medical care in a medical facility, meaning they will need to be transported to a hospital. Once there, more people will be exposed.

I have a deep heart of compassion. I am thinking of this as though this might be my own family and friends. But if I was in China, I would not want to be responsible for bringing the virus to Canada. I do not envy those with whom the decision rests.

In the U.S. at least one person was turned away from the Canada/US border as travel restrictions are implemented. The following are the restrictions implemented by the U.S. according to the above article.

US citizens and others who are allowed to travel to the US from China are being funneled to 11 airports where US authorities will conduct extra screening and transfer people for quarantine if needed.
All flights from China will go to those airports, and passengers who have been to China in the past 14 days and weren’t already traveling to one of those airports will be required to rebook their flights.
The “vast majority” of flights coming from China already arrive at those airports, Cuccinelli said.

 

This to me does not look anything like what the Globe and Mail recently called exploiting the situation.

Whatever decision Canada makes, let’s believe it is the right one.

Plane carrying Canadian evacuees out of China will stop at YVR – Andrew Weichel

February 3, 2020, Andrew Weichel

Commentary

It remains a mystery why the news media continues to give us updates while we continue to wait, day after day, for a plane to leave the ground from Canada to China to retrieve some 300 Canadians threatened by the coronavirus. Meanwhile China praises Canada as a “bulwark of calm”, for not “exploiting the situation” as it claims the U.S. has done by restricting travel to and from China. Asia correspondent Nathan Vanderklippe, in his Globe and Mail report, states the following:

Canadian Health Minister Patty Hajdu has said the risks to Canada are low and Ottawa sees no need to keep out travellers who have been to China. “Canada believes the entry ban has no basis, which is a sharp contrast to the U.S. behaviours,” Ms. Hua said in a news conference held on the WeChat app.

Ms. Hua is identified as a spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

And the WHO (World Health Organization, United Nations) is confusing the situation further by urging the world not to limit travel due to the virus. So, this being the case, why can we not get a flight into China to rescue the Canadians who, according to the Globe and Mail are “trapped in a lockdown zone”?