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Opinion: Bill Walton, The Invincibles

Could the Invincibles be right and the doctors and politicians wrong?
20200702 invince walton

Images in the media showing masses of people ignoring the social distancing and facemask recommendations, despite the growing number pandemic cases in the US and still present concerns here in Canada, are becoming too frequent. People carrying placards decrying the lockdowns, interference in freedoms, and income losses are appearing in both countries. In some cases, it borders on anarchy.

The underlying theme seems to be that no matter the cause or purpose of marches and demonstrations, many of the participants apparently do not believe the doctors and political leaders about stopping the spread of COVID-19. Do these people think they are invincible or do they think the scientists are wrong about the dangers of the virus? The odds of dying from the virus are low if you are young and healthy, but does that give license to don a cloak of indifference to others who may not be able to fight off the virus without some dire consequences?

In the grand scheme or pre-determined destiny of life for humans on this small planet, would it have really mattered if everyone who caught the virus died or suffered lasting illness? So what if the hospitals were overwhelmed for a short time, doctors, nurses and staff exhausted and ill from contact with the virus – as long as the economy did not falter, the stock markets continued to grow and the mega-companies brought in the dollars. According to what we see and read about the invincibles - tough on you if you cannot make it - I and my cause are more important.

After learning what has happened when the powers-that-be loosened controls in the US, should we really be supporting and cheering that the Invincibles are going to play NHL hockey in Canada? Major League Baseball? Basketball? Football? Yep, the sponsors will spray the benches, sterilize the change rooms and the players will wash their hands but do we really believe none of them will pick up and then spread the virus? So what?

Air Canada and WestJet will take all the precautions needed for a safe flight. (Sorry, you must go to Sudbury or Toronto to catch a flight). No social distancing, no masks because nary a single asymptomatic passenger will board the aircraft . . .  Each flight will carry several members of the Board of Directors and Company shareholders to prove that passengers and crew are invincible.

We all want things to return to what we used to call ‘normal’ but we have choices to make on how to get there: continue with the safeguards or choose denial of science and compassion and pretend and act as if the COVID was only a bad cold. We can embrace the former idea or the later. We have been very fortunate and careful in our small corner of the world but we are not invincible. Let us err on the side of caution in our rush to reopen the economy. We can help one another get through this.

 




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Bill Walton

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