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LETTER: Time to heal wounds caused by COVID

As I hear how British Columbians in places like Merritt, Hope and Abbotsford went spontaneously to the aid of flood-threatened folks, I wonder how COVID management might go if government treated it from now on as a similar ‘natural’ event.

What if government were to transition now to advising on recommended practices, plus updating on infections, hospitalizations and deaths? What if government now issues guidelines but relies in the future upon we citizens to care for ourselves and others? This approach is working well in at least one example to the south.

On Nov. 26 Florida reported a daily average of about six cases per 100,000 people. (Compared e.g. to New Mexico at 67).

Florida did not use mandates or vaccine passports but instead focused on providing information plus preventive and post-diagnostic treatment. Florida’s government trusted Floridians to be responsible; Floridians honoured that trust (maybe that is because there are so many Canadian ‘snowbirds’ there?) It worked in Sweden too; we could do this in B.C. now. And it’s not just about public health: it’s also about healing social wounds.

As it is, we are a community divided; the vaccinated fear and shun the non-vaccinated who resent and ridicule the vaccinated. What can we do about it?

Shifting policy from penalty to persuasion would be a good start, remembering the example of British Columbians’ generous and often courageous responses to the needs of their flood-ravaged fellow citizens. (I doubt that any rescuer asked to see a vaccine passport before throwing a rescue rope.)

Flood damage repair is underway; I humbly submit that it is also time for health care and relationship repair to get underway between government, community, families and friends.

Dr. Henry, you were our hero while taking control; consider being our hero now, letting go.

Tom Northcott

Sidney