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It’s Time to Re-Open our Country

[:en]After two years of COVID-19 restrictions, it appears there may, finally, be some light at the end of the tunnel.
Last week, the United Kingdom announced the most significant easing of their restrictions to date. Facemasks will no longer be required and vaccine passports will no longer be needed.

Many US States did away with such restrictions some time ago.

Even here in Canada we have seen an easing of restrictions. Ontario recently announced its intention to loosen restrictions in the coming days. Saskatchewan and Alberta have indicated they are unlikely to add any new restrictions. Even NDP stronghold British Columbia has indicated it is ready to open up.

These provinces have begun to recognize what other jurisdictions around the globe have known for some time—and other Canadian jurisdictions cannot seem to get their heads around. Lockdowns and other restrictions show little evidence of effectiveness in curtailing COVID-19. In fact, in many cases, they have only served to make things worse.

As Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe stated: “The evidence is right here in Saskatchewan as we manage through this Omicron wave, with very little in the way of restrictions on people’s lives, and we have lower rates of hospitalizations, lower rates of ICU admissions and lower rates, thankfully, of fatalities through the month of January, than many other provinces with much more severe restrictions.

While we all want to protect the vulnerable from COVID-19, we must recognize that the coronavirus isn’t going anywhere.

As I have pointed out on numerous occasions, vaccines are just one of many useful tools we have to deal with COVID-19. Unfortunately, rather than look at the overwhelming evidence, the PM chose instead—as usual—to listen to his own propaganda and refuse to admit that vaccines were only one of many tools rather than a silver bullet. In fact, as one, excellent article in the Globe and Mail stated last week: “Perhaps if we hadn’t been so focused on one tool things might have gone differently. And perhaps if certain voices hadn’t been silenced, and others handed a megaphone, our pandemic tool kit, and mindset, would have been different too.”
Sadly, the PM (and others) continue to focus on mandates and lockdowns. They cannot bring themselves to admit they may have been wrong, and Canadians are the ones suffering for it.

While I recognize that Omicron is still an issue, and public health resources are still stretched thin, I still believe it is time to open up. As with any virus, we need to learn to live with it—recent advances in COVID treatment and therapeutics, as well as accepting a broader range of recommendations by doctors and researchers will help with this transition.

Prolonging re-opening is only serving to damage to livelihoods and mental health of Canadians—Canadians who have gone above and beyond and are tired of the never-ending uncertainty.

Any loss of life is a tragedy, but we cannot stay in this state of flux and restrictions forever.

We should follow the lead of other jurisdictions, who have transitioned to an endemic and are re-opening.

It’s time to re-open our country.