Opinion: Canada, and other Nations Are Losing Against COVID-19

eAwaz Youth Zone

By Muhammad Ali

Mississauga – It is quite unfortunate to see the state the world currently is in. From Canada to Pakistan, to the United States, and many other states across the world, a second wave is imminent. This, “rant”, is a critique of the world’s effort against COVID-19. Firstly, why is social distancing of utmost importance? It took one person, patient zero, to infect millions of people in the world, in all nations.

One person can infect a hundred or so people in which each of those hundred people go on to infect another hundred people and so on. Viruses do not add up, instead they multiply and therefore the numbers fly up right in front of your eyes. The virus is asymptomatic, as in most people do not find out they have the contagion until a certain number of days, where they may have already infected so many. That is why anyone coming from outside Canada has to undergo a 14-day quarantine. Sanitation, hygiene is also important because the virus can remain on surfaces for days. People are also recommended to stay six feet apart from each other. Following these guidelines for a decent amount of time have already shrunk the number of cases around the world, and the numbers prove it.

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The asymptomatic feature about the coronavirus has made it so widespread by being under the radar before governments realized it was a true threat. Those who had the virus, describe it as painful and a terrible experience. Coronavirus is spreading among Pakistanis, and decommission the lockdown it is understandable in argument but upsetting. The Pak prime minister, stated in a news conference after consolidating with the National Coordination Committee, that the shutdown has harmed poor people, and at the current rate is no longer sustainable by the country. Additionally, he mentioned that several sectors will remain closed. The reasoning behind Imran Khan’s statement is that people do not have money, and therefore could not buy necessities and commodities like food and clothes. Furthermore, he mentioned that, “coronavirus is going nowhere”, and tax collection has plummeted by 30%.

The shutdown and enforcing it is crucial in staying under the threshold capacity of the healthcare system, and for the return of the global economy. Deaths were so high in Italy because the health care system was so overwhelmed that people were not able to get the care due to the shortage of beds and equipment. If a country with the virus manages to control its endemic, it may be able restart earlier. It will also put a less strain amongst frontline workers, the people and of course the government’s budget. Unlike, Pakistan, India, and other developing countries, Canada and other developed countries have had a decent if not fantastic reserves of income.

These countries have the ability to give money to the people who most need it during these very challenging times. It is even more discouraging to imagine that people disobeyed the direct order of the federal government to stay home, especially during the days of Eid a joyous time. It is even more discouraging, that now many experts are saying the virus is beginning to surge in the country. Many countries around the world are not taking the pandemic seriously. For instance, the American and Canadian federal governments are rushing to reopen their economies as soon as possible even though the virus still is present in them.

United States President Donald Trump, publicly did not wear a mask, sponsored a unapproved drug to treat coronavirus on live broadcast, and kept downplaying Dr Fauci, a lead physician, who has played a pivotal role in the United States during these tough times. Many people in the U.S look up to the president, and the following just shows. After Trump promoted Hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug with harsh side effects, a couple wound up in hospital after eating the drug extract from a fish aquarium cleaner.  Large scale parties, many caught on video, still are occurring in the U.S. Perhaps, the mindset of the party and club goers are, if the president doesn’t care why should we? In Brazil, a similar hardline conservative leader, like Trump, Jair Bolsonaro has raised controversy for quickly trying to reopen the economy, and for not setting a good example to his people of etiquette during the COVID-19 lockdown. He raised criticism, after buying a hotdog from a crowded area without a mask or any PPE, further raising criticism from the media and his opponents.

pic 4A crowded hospital in Brazil.

For the case of Canada, the country should tighten the lockdown until there is no virus left at all. However, Canada has lifted the quarantine, and is in a process of reopening, which is discouraging in the sense that it will bring about a second wave of COVID-19. A second wave of COVID-19 will devastate the economy and the people in this country further. Additionally, more money will be given out. On top of that, this money is not only given to people who most need it, but also people who may not need it. For instance, the government pledged to give $300 in May to families with children, including ones with income above the minimum required to be part of the CPP.

Another example would be that recipients of CERB would not require to look for work, whereas for the CESB, the student equivalent of CESB, students have to “look” for work. Already Canada has around a trillion-dollar deficit, which is higher than levels after the second world war, and seeing that the government is mishandling taxpayers’ dollars is unacceptable. Why does it matter? Because it will eventually be your money that will pay for these losses. With certainty, there will be a tax innovation after the pandemic ends, taxes will go up, and services will be cut. To make matters even worse is that Canada plans to re-open like its bigger counterpart the United States. Last week, cases were down by many folds, but this week made a turn for the worst, as Ontario saw its highest number of cases… and it’s still going up.

A school in Quebec, which re-opened as part of the provinces “phased planning”, had to close down again due to children and teachers portraying coronavirus like symptoms — now at least 40 have tested positive for COVID-19. A second wave, will only bring upon a higher government deficit and public debt, and more suffering among the people. It will also put pressure upon our public health care sector and weaken it as the pandemic time elongates. Not to mention, PPE (Personal protection equipment) supplies are running out, so a second wave will only result in more casualties. Other supplies are also running out, which may drive prices to surge above what we are typically use to.

If Canada and other leading countries continue to mishandle their reserves and only focus on re-opening, then they will be no different than developing countries, and would soon have to halt its aid. The system is crippling, and will only cripple further until a resolution is passed, and the gaps in the middle filled. If the notion set forth by the government is only about re-opening and not solving the problem, then the problem will remain. The federal government of Canada has completely flipped the hard work and efforts of provincial governments like Brampton and Ontario. It is not only this federal government’s stupidity in decisions that has made matters worse, but also the peoples. When the city of Toronto planned to reopen parks, in the first day there were thousands of people, until they had to abruptly shut it down the next.

In British Columbia, beaches are overcrowded with people relaxing in the hot sun. It is not easy to stay in side, no doubt, but can we look at the long-term benefits rather than the short-term struggle? There are people out there dying from this virus, and more will die as a result of not following the social distancing guidelines. Furthermore, the recent unjust and brutal murder of George Floyd by corrupt police officers has sparked worldwide protests. A false accusation of a murder by Toronto Police in High Park Toronto, of 29-year-old, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, has led to an astonishingly large group of people protesting police brutality, with at least a couple thousand strong.

Even worse, there are even people protesting against the lockdown in Queen’s Park Toronto, calling on the government to reopen everything. Others, outright call the virus a hoax. Long line-ups, throwing house parties, the list goes on and on… Others indirectly threaten national security by half-heartedly following the social distancing guidelines or by not following them at all. Many of these protestors also argue that wearing a mask will 100% keep them safe, but in reality, any exposure to the virus is potentially life threatening to oneself and others due to contamination. Overall, it is nothing but a blatant disrespect and insult to the doctors, nurses, paramedics and other health care staff who risk their lives in saving lives in hospitals that have begun to overcrowd again. Again, these people also do not realize that they put others in risk, like the elderly and the most vulnerable.

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Bellwood Park in Toronto was overcrowded after reopening last week.

Making matters even worse is the loss of humanity during these times. For example, the nursing home scandal, in which many nursing homes for the elderly were hit with a full swing by the COVID-19 pandemic mostly due to neglect for the vulnerable. The Canadian military has released absolutely unbelievable, grossly disturbing and depressing details about this scandal, which shows that many people have lost their humanity during these times. Many nurses and care staff abandoned their duties leaving the elderly, who are the most vulnerable to the disease isolated in filthy conditions. The files revealed by the army also found many deaths to be attributed to the care practitioners as well. So far 22000 people have died in the US nursing homes as well, and most of Canada’s deaths have occurred in these homes. Even worse, in several US states their own state governments have received backlash for abandoning the elderly and vulnerable during these times. Other instances of the loss of humanity, is the mass buying, and taking advantage of the shortages.

Early on many people stockpiled on goods like toilet paper, sanitizers, masks and gloves, and stores were left dry. Out of those people, a large number of them decided to sell them at unacceptable prices, taking advantage of the situation. Law enforcement has cracked down on these people but it is sad that it even happened in the first place. Hospitals have run out of these supplies and are in dire need of them, and lives are at stake… while these people are making a profit out of it. Speaking on this subject of shortages, the US government, Canada’s greatest ally in trading, warfare etc. seized personal protection equipment bought by Canada, while it was just about to pass through the Canadian – American border. This is where we are today.

We have tools like the internet and are so obsessed with it. Students and working adults like taking a break from their work. There were a time people would just want to stay home all day. It’s funny as now, many want to do their usual duties again, and return back to normal. We all have to go outside, that’s just how we are built. For the short term though, the internet is a fantastic, and useful solution to the pandemic as people can stay in contact with others, get distracted from the world’s issues, or read about them, or can shop and use the endless tools of the internet. The internet is literally perfect for social distancing, and is for now (until a vaccine comes out) the solution to the COVID-19 problem.

If you were able to read through all of this, I hope you can see why there is a massive problem. Genuinely, there are people who are suffering at home from mental illness, and others who just want life to return to normal. Many people around the world are suffering financially, and others may have lost their business (es).  At the point where things are, a second wave, which is quite probably as no one is listening, and governments are not ready to take action. A second wave will directly hurt these people more and clearly not the people who are out and about. When a method is introduced to settle the deficit and public debt, those who are playing a bad role in the surge of these cases will then pay a price. It looks hopeless but we need to keep calm, and only through innovation, education, and determination we will overcome this pandemic.