Living with COVID-19 by Shirley Dolan

Shirley Dolan
Shirley Dolan

We are entering our third year of the COVID-19 pandemic. In Ontario, we are in our fourth lockdown presumably so that we do not overwhelm our hospitals. The lockdown applies to vaxxed and unvaxxed alike so one wonders about the efficacy of getting the jab. Hospital data for Ontario suggests that you can still be infected whether vaccinated or not.

Data from the Province of Ontario’s Hospitalization Status page Hospitalizations | COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Ontario illustrate that there are hundreds of adult ICU beds still available, 453 as of January 25, 2022. Yes, there may be hospitals where the ICU beds are in short supply, and yes, its also about the availability of staff, but hospital over-capacity is not new, and we have had years to fix it.

One thing COVID-19 has done is shine a light on the fragility of our capacity to deal with a health crisis. To repeat, capacity problems are not new. See Queensway Carleton Hospital exceeds capacity | CBC News and Ottawa Hospital operating over-capacity | CTV News. It is just more evident since the pandemic started. And yet, there has been little or no government action to improve the situation. Better to shine the light somewhere else than on the crippling failure to protect those most at risk and to improve our crumbling hospital system.

Lorrie Goldstein wrote, in the Toronto Sun: “According to the Fraser Institute, for example, Canada is in 25th place out of 26 developed nations with universal or near-universal health-care systems comparable to our own, in our number of acute care hospital beds — 2.1 per 1,000 population.

But Ontario, which spends 42 cents out of every dollar on health care — the province’s largest single expenditure by far — fares even worse when compared to the other provinces.

The Ontario Hospital Association reported in 2019 that, “Ontario has fewer acute care hospital beds per 1,000 population than any other province and fewer beds than any country in the world (tied with Mexico) that is tracked by the OECD.” “

Most people understand that COVID-19 is here to stay and at some point, we will have to learn to live with it. After all the measures that have been taken by governments and all the money spent, we don’t appear to be any further ahead in stopping this virus or to reasonably manage it. Analyses of how the pandemic was handled will go on for years if not decades.

We will have to learn to live with COVID-19 whether governments acknowledge this or not. Some people are quietly doing this. They are finding ways to get together with friends and family, they are traveling, they are taking responsibility for their own health, assessing the risk, and moving beyond the lockdowns and government policies that make life so difficult.

And indeed, for most people, it is not COVID-19 that is making life difficult, it is government policy. Lockdowns have created a plethora of hardships from postponed and cancelled surgeries, increased drug and alcohol use, increased mental health issues including suicides, the abandonment of the elderly, and the loss of support and companionship from those we love. To add to this, the federal government has mandated vaccines for truckers crossing the border, spawning what may be the largest protest of its kind in Canada (Freedom Convoy 2022). Prime Minister Trudeau’s response is to double down on the mandate.

One of the worst results of government policy is the war on the unvaxxed. They have become the target of the government, the media, and the public in general who are relentless in their demonization of a group of people who have taken responsibility for their own health. As shown above, a brief look at Ontario’s data on hospitalizations shows that you can be hospitalized whether you are vaxxed or not. It also shows that the majority of those in hospital are there NOT because of COVID-19 but for some other reason.

Some thoughts on living with COVID-19:

  1. Get vaccinated – don’t get vaccinated. The choice is yours and everyone just shut up about the choice someone else has made.
  2. Wear a mask – don’t wear a mask. The choice is yours.
  3. Remove as much stress from your life as you can.
  4. Go outside and get some fresh air.
  5. Go for a walk, get a little exercise.
  6. Call a friend and chat about a mutual interest.
  7. Be kind to your neighbours.
  8. Tune out the media including social media. Its mostly bad for your health.
  9. Improve your immune system. Talk to a health professional about how you can do this. Do your own research.
  10. Lose a few pounds if you are overweight.
  11. Eat healthier and wash your hands.
  12. Take responsibility for your own health and stop worrying about what other people are doing.

It doesn’t seem to matter which government is in power. They are all pretty much doing the same thing.  Kudos to those that have spoken out about the ineffectiveness and damage of the government pandemic policies. You are a voice for many of us but you will not form government and so we must live with what we have.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference – from the Serenity Prayer.