Publisher’s Words July – August 2021

After about 1 ½ years COVID-19 continues to occupy the media attention on a daily basis. As of the end of August, over 76% of Canadians and British Columbians aged 12+ have been  fully vaccinated (and about 67% of total population are fully vaccinated), yet there’s talk of a 4th COVID-19 wave looming in the near future.  In addition, the Canadian government has mandated that all federal employees will need to be vaccinated and many public and private organizations are following suit. In BC (and other Canadian provinces), the provincial government is also coming out with a vaccine passport policy in order to increase the vaccination rate. Those who are not vaccinated may not be able to participate in non-essential activities like dining out in a restaurant, going to a concert, attending a sports activity, etc. We were originally told that roughly when over 70% of the population are vaccinated/infected, then we should have herd-immunity and the society should be able to return to pre-pandemic time. Somehow, I have a feeling that the COVID-19 restrictions are never going to end regardless of what percentage of the population are vaccinated. 

One thing I have not heard from any government (whether federal or provincial) is what parameters are going to be used to determine when the pandemic is considered over?  Or what parameters are going to be used to determine that COVID-19 can be down-graded to a flu-like illness (an endemic)? By nature, people die every single day due to various reasons, like natural ageing, chronic illnesses, seasonal illnesses, accidents, etc.  By the same token, it is not practical to expect “zero death” from any seasonal illnesses or from COVID-19 (eventually).  I would really appreciate it if any provincial or federal government can come out with clear criteria on how they are going to determine COVID-19 is no longer a pandemic or COVID-19 is no longer worse than seasonal flus?

The current counting of new cases, active cases, recovered cases, hospitalization number, new death number, and total death number since the pandemic began are only putting more fears into the general population. Without a comparison to other seasonal illnesses, how are the general public going to know when to feel safer?  How low do the COVID-19 associated ICU admissions and death numbers need to be, before the government can say that the pandemic is winding down or over?  Of course, the parameters would have to be country- or region-specific. People have been living in fear for over 1 ½ years. How about giving people some hope by clearly defining the criteria and standards for when the restrictions can be lifted and life can be back to almost normal?

Does anyone know? Have you asked your government about it?

Martin Kwok, ND. DrTCM