Right in the centre - Coping with COVID-19 and China


By Ken Waddell

Neepawa Banner & Press


According to figures from the province of Manitoba, there were 18 flu-related deaths reported during the 2018-19 flu season, but the number varies considerably year to year. The variance is shown in these stats: 2013-14 (9), 2014-15 (48), 2015-16 (22), 2016-17 (12), 2017-18 (46), 2018-19 (18).

So far in Manitoba, we have had eight deaths from COVID-19 over about five months, so over 12 months, assuming that C-19 keeps rolling at the current rates, there would be about 18 deaths.

For about three weeks now, I have been pressuring the government to become a bit more realistic about care home visitation rules. And not only I, but many other people, have been bringing pressure to bear so care home residents can have more visits from loved ones. It looks like the pressure has helped Manitoba Health to conclude that it’s time to ease restrictions.

If C-19 does break out in a care home, then by all means, isolate the room, the ward or even the whole residence, if need be. And yes, there are risks, but examine the stats above. Ordinary flu caused anywhere from nine to 48 deaths per year between 2013 and 2019 and they weren’t all in care homes, by any means. C-19 has caused one death in a care home so far. I realize all hell could break loose with COVID-19, but we also have the distinct impression that a lot more people have died of loneliness and despair than from C-19 in care homes. As I have stated before, it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to believe that more than one person has died because of C-19 measures than have died from COVID directly in care homes.

The problems we have with COVID-19 are real and must be dealt with seriously. The government wisely kept a 14 day isolation in place for travel into Manitoba from eastern and southern Ontario. It remains a puzzle why we still have international travel right now, except for real human urgency, such as re-uniting parents and children, spouses and some other limited circumstances.

On the international scene, China is a problem, as it has been for years. C-19 apparently came from China. Their human rights policies are atrocious. Their economic bullying is suspect at best. Our Canadian government should work harder to get Canadian political prisoners out of China. We should tell the Americans to paint or get off the ladder concerning the Huawei executive currently held in BC. Perhaps there are other issues that need to be cleaned up first, but either China gets into the 21st century on trade and human rights or Canada should distance itself from China. The Canadian pork and canola industries depend a lot on the Chinese markets. Even so, do we as a country want to be dependent on the markets and world view of the Chinese Communist Party?

Declaring at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library that “the old paradigm of blind engagement with China has failed,” United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday announced a new approach toward the Chinese Communist Party (CCP): “Distrust and verify.”

The CCP has betrayed the free world and their own people on so many fronts and we can not continue the charade of pretending the CCP cares about us. Pompeo was clear, and we must be clear, that our dispute is with the CCP policies, not the Chinese people, be they in China or within Canada.

Our own prime minister has said he admires China’s policies. He needs to wake up and so do all Canadians. The CCP intends to destroy us and we must stop them.

Disclaimer: The writer serves as a volunteer chair of the Manitoba Community Newspaper Association. The views expressed in this column are the writer’s personal views and are not to be taken as being the view of the MCNA board or Banner & Press staff.