Canadians sacrificed to prop up business during COVID and after

Innis Ingram (with his mother) went on a hunger strike to win better COVID-19 care for seniors in long term care homes

“WE’RE NOTHING BUT COVID FODDER,” says David Bronstein. “Human sacrifices, just like the soldiers in the trenches in WWI. Our leaders are ready to kill as many of us as it takes to make their ‘herd immunity’ strategy work.”

Bronstein is an activist with the Suppress the Virus Now Coalition, a Canada-wide mobilization committed to a strategy to get us to zero COVID-19 as soon as possible and keep it that way. Learning to live with the virus is simply not an option for them.

Elected leaders in Canada like to present a zero COVID goal as an impossible dream. The truth is New Zealand, Australia, Vietnam, Iceland and Taiwan got it right. They went to zero and eliminated the virus. So did the four provinces in Atlantic Canada and our North.

Act early. Go hard. Go to zero.

Many experts say all of our politicians have got it all wrong. Andrew Nikiforuk, a longtime science writer and author of two books on pandemics is one. He says: “... there is only one way to deal with a rapidly mutating virus that demonstrates the real power of exponential growth: Act early. Go hard. And go to zero."

In the last three months, several super-variants have emerged that are 30 to 70 per cent more infectious than the original Wuhan strain.

The old COVID-19 doubled its numbers every 40 days under a particular set of restrictions; under the same conditions, the variants double every 10 days. That means they can outrun any vaccination campaign.

More infectious = more lethal

British mathematician Adam Kucharski recently compared a virus mutation that was 50 per cent more deadly with one that increased transmission by 50 per cent.

A virus that is 50 per cent more lethal will kill 193 people in a month. A variant that is 50 per cent more infectious will kill 978 people—more than five times as many.

“Meanwhile Canada’s vaccine campaign is flailing,” writes Nikforuk. “It can’t end this pandemic by itself, because immunity won’t last as long as the vaccination campaign.

“Moreover, our politicians have placed their bets on two high-tech, two-shot and costly vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna.”

American science has given us a Lamborghini when what the world needs is a Toyota, a cheap one-shot deal that can be easily stored, says public health expert William Haseltine.

Oxford’s AstraZeneca vaccine may be that Toyota. And we should me making it here in Canada for Canadians.

Others went to zero

New Zealand, Australia, Vietnam, Iceland and Taiwan got it right. They went to zero and eliminated the virus. Atlantic Canada and the North got it right, too.

Nikforuk writes: “Until citizens demand a go to zero protocol in their communities, they will live in the Groundhog Day alternative — a public game with no real end goal other than endurance that depletes both our communities and economies."

Unlike the corporate elite and their political enforcers, workers want to prevent a third wave and its potential consequences. According to an Ipsos poll of 3,000 people commissioned by Radio Canada, 76 percent of respondents would be willing to go through a new lockdown to limit the impact of the variants.

Pursuit of profit is killing us

Provinces are running out of time to vaccinate enough people to prevent a third wave. Even though vaccination began almost three months ago. As of March 13, just over 5.0 percent of Canada’s population has received a first dose, and just 1.6 percent have received both doses.

The vaccination fiasco once more underscores the inability of the capitalist system to prepare for and manage major crises. Once again, millions of people are at risk not because of a lack of knowledge or scientific advances, but because of the capitalist system where everything is subordinated to private profit.

Although time is running out, a third wave can be avoided. This requires the complete closure of schools, as well as non-essential industries and businesses, with full financial compensation for affected workers and small businesses.

Billions must be invested in testing, tracing and sequencing cases, vaccinating the Canadian population and providing vaccines to people around the world. Additional billions must be invested in hospitals, which have been ravaged by decades of austerity, so they can build up surge capacity and the infrastructure to treat those who develop severe forms of COVID-19.

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