The wind is in from Africa. Last night I couldn’t sleep. Because a new coronavirus has arrived. It has been named Omicron. The arrival of a new mutation of the novel coronavirus should not come as a surprise to anyone who has at least a sixth grade understanding of viruses. The virus is mutating, as viruses have done since the beginning of time.
So what to do? First, expect dire predictions. Airports will be closed to traffic from some parts of the world. There will be calls for schools to close, businesses to shut down, government restrictions of every kind to be imposed. The most frightened among us will get the most attention from our political leaders. The sensible doctors will stay silent, while their more vocal colleagues will predict that the hospital system will collapse, and demand more government restrictions on our freedom. Meanwhile, public health officials will exhort every segment of the population to get vaccinations, “boosters”, and more “boosters”. Not only should children get vaccinations – in spite of the fact that this is scientifically questionable – but babies should be vaccinated. Maybe even in utero. Meanwhile, everyone should mask, double mask, and do this indefinitely.
And mainstream news sources will insist that only the most Draconian measures will do, while calling anyone who dares speak up against this nonsense “Covidiots”, “Anti-Vaxxers” or similar terms of disparagement
And when the wind comes in from some other part of the world, with yet another mutation – sorry, “variant” – we must do this dance all over again.
Or maybe not.
Lisa Bildy and Bruce Pardy are members of a group of lawyers and other concerned citizens who are crying “Enough”. They are saying that we are ruining our country and our way of life – not to mention our civil liberties that were a thousand years in the making – trying to imitate King Canute in his futile attempt to stop the waves.
Simply put, we have to get our lives back. We have to get Canada back.
They ask everyone of a similar mind to sign the Free North Declaration demanding that the government stop abrogating our civil rights, and stop drastically interfering with our right to live our lives as we choose – even if that means choosing to assume a little risk.
Some in our midst still cling to the fiction that if we just lockdown hard enough, or get the last of those stubborn anti-vaxxers to roll up their sleeves, we can “stamp out” the virus and we will all be safe forever. However, the more realistic part of the population is now coming to realize that those Covid zero policies were always a pipe dream. The reality is that we will have to live with mutations of this nasty coronavirus for a very long time – perhaps forever. The question for Canadians is what they want the rest of their lives – and the lives of their children – to look like. Do they want to live in eternal fear, with the massive disruption of new restrictions every time a new mutation sneaks in from somewhere. Or do they want to bite the bullet and accept the fact that living with risk is inevitably tied to the human experience?
For the risk averse there are many steps that they can take. They can wear masks and social distance as much as they care to. They can also get as many boosters as they want. Parents who decide to have their children receive the vaccine have every right to do so.The most cautious, including people with health conditions that make infection potentially deadly, can self isolate. The government absolutely has a duty to help the highly vulnerable portion of the population do that.
But don’t force those of us who want to live normal lives to do those things. People who choose not to be vaccinated or be repeatedly “boosted”, or get their children vaccinated and then “boosted” forever more should not be forced do those things by either government mandate or public “shaming”. . People should not be compelled by the state to wear masks, or make their children wear masks.
For the healthy population that wants to return to a normal life and is prepared to accept some level of risk, we should demand that the government get off our backs. After all, our civil liberties belong to us – they are not something that a government gives us. If a government insists on being a dictator, using public health as its weapon, and if our courts refuse to protect us, we must exercise the ancient right of self-help and take back our civil liberties.
And we know by now that the double vaccinations that were supposed to end the pandemic will do no such thing. After six months, the vaccinated are no longer significantly protected against infection. People are already lined up to get their “boosters”. It is not hard to imagine that soon the double-vaxxed who don’t want “boosters” will be called “anti-vaxxers” and prevented from entry to restaurants and subjected to other insults.
It should be clear by now that the lockdown“ cure” has become far worse than the disease. The entire lockdown concept – crippling the economy by quarantining the young and healthy in a futile attempt to protect the vulnerable – was and is an idea astonishing in its stupidity.
It is also becoming increasingly clear that insisting on government-mandated vaccination every few months until the end of time is unsustainable. It is becoming just as clear that only a combination of vaccination and natural infection acquired from infection will bring us to the herd immunity required to bring infections down to a liveable level.
Fortunately, this latest South African mutation, Omicron, although very contagious, appears to be far milder than the original version of the coronavirus. A few days of weakness and mild symptoms for most people, and that’s it. If that turns out to be the case, the novel coronavirus is behaving like every other respiratory virus since the dawn of time – becoming more contagious as it becomes less lethal. Perhaps the fact that it appears to cause only mild symptoms will convince people that they don’t need to be so afraid. Yes, the elderly and obese are still at risk of dying from any mutation of this virus. But the young and healthy have a greater risk of dying from traffic accidents than they do from infection. Maybe Omicron will lessen the fear factor, while bringing us closer to the necessary level of herd immunity.
We must learn to live with mutations of this virus, just as we have learned to live with all of the viruses that have come before. The risk of getting sick once in a while is a natural part of life, and something we have all lived with forever. So, who knows, maybe Omicron will be the thing that brings us out of the pandemic mindset – the strange notion that we must avoid all risk, even if it means ending normal life as we have always known it. Maybe Omicron will do what vaccinations were supposed to do. With its mild symptoms, and the probability that an infection from the virus will bring longer lasting immunity to Covid-19 than vaccinations, perhaps people will begin to get a little less fearful.
Because it is undue fear that has always been driving the pandemic mindset. This is a virus that has never been a major threat for healthy people. It is only the message of unreasonable fear, pushed by incompetent leaders, and an opportunistic media, that has created the hysteria we are forced to live with every day. Once the population stops believing that infection means death, the spell that this coronavirus has cast over the western world will be broken. Maybe Omicron will do that.
And maybe we can get our lives back.
Brian Giesbrecht is a retired Manitoba provincial court judge and senior fellow with the Frontier Center for Public Policy.
Photo by Kampus Production from Pexels.