Right in the centre - Burning down the house to get rid of the wasp nest


By Ken Waddell

Neepawa Banner & Press

The new year is a time for reflection. It’s important to look back at where we have been, but more important to learn from the past and move forward based on experience, optimism and faith.

I try to maintain a pace of reading at least one history book a month. I look forward to my bedtime reading each night and it’s amazing how much  prairie history there is to learn. I say prairie history, as that is the segment of history that’s most important to us. It has shaped who we are and coupled with geography and economics, it continues to shape are experiences. The other two factors, optimism and faith, apply anywhere in the world, but geography is a bit like the first factor listed above, experience. We can’t change geography very much, we have to learn from it and adapt to it. Our experience is it is. It’s past and has shaped us, but it can’t be changed. Same with geography, the hills, the plains are what they are.

Sure, people talk about climate change and certainly there has been some changes, but it’s more ebb and flow than major change. On the prairies, it has almost always been hot in summer, cold in winter and very windy all year round. Some winters have little snow, some have lots, same with rain in the spring and summer. Our geography and climate are pretty stable on the prairies.

It is perhaps because we are so used to stability on the prairies that the jarring experience of COVID-19 has left everyone frustrated. It’s time to get rooted back into a more stable attitude and position.

Last week, during a time when our office was closed, I put “pen to paper” and posted the following to our Facebook page. Judging by the online response and general agreement displayed, I would say it pretty much sums up the public’s collective response to C-19. Here’s what I wrote online last week:

“Many people are simply ‘done’ with the never ending COVID-19 lockdowns and I am among those numbers. Initially, COVID-19 was being handled fairly well in Manitoba, but those days are gone. We did the lockdowns, a vast majority of people got one, two and now three shots. COVID-19 is a sickness that strikes at various levels. Some don’t know they are sick, some get sick and recover quite easily, some get sick and suffer. A few get sick and die. Almost all who die are either old (like me) or have one or more co-morbidities. There are a few exceptions, but very few.

The way we are battling COVID-19 is like burning down the house to get rid of the wasp nest. The only ‘real’ problem we have is a low number of ICUs and the government has had nearly two years to fix that.

Whatever it takes to increase ICU capacity, do it. Even still, there will be deaths. From the last figures I was given, one in four COVID-19 patients who go into ICU die and three in four survive. If we had the same number per capita of ICUs in Manitoba as North Dakota, we would have had many, many more ICUs to face this and possible future problems. Fix the number of ICUs and one of the worst trouble spots is alleviated, not eliminated, but alleviated.

Only five to six per cent of Manitobans contracted COVID-19 and of those numbers, 98 per cent recovered. Meanwhile over 10 per cent of Manitobans (150,000 people) are waiting to get surgery and treatments delayed by COVID-19 lockdowns. We are likely losing more people from the waiting list than we are from COVID-19, but those stats either aren’t being kept or aren’t being revealed. It should also be obvious that delaying procedures such as cancer prevention and heart surgeries will precipitate many more premature deaths in the next few years.

Business and venue closures are not obtaining the desired effects. Surely 21 months of closures has proven that. Keep up the well known precautions, like hand washing and hand sanitizer, stay home if you are sick. Keep up the vaccinations, especially for the vulnerable and let’s move on with life and the economy.

In other words, kill the wasps and move back into our house.”

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this column are the writer’s personal views and are not to be taken as being the view of the Banner & Press staff.