A lack of information and clarity is probably creating unnecessary confusion and even fear in these COVID times.
Earlier this month a national media broadcast announced that 80 per cent of COVID-19 deaths in seniors residences in Ontario took place in “privately owned and operated” residences. The news broadcast then went on to extrapolate that it was obvious that privately owned facilities were the problem.
We could take that at face value if we knew the percentage of seniors residences in Ontario that are privately owned but this was not included in the newscast.
If 80 per cent are privately owned then 80 per cent of deaths occurring in them puts the privately owned facilities on a par with all seniors facilities in Ontario.
If all privately owned and operated seniors facilities were the issue during COVID-19 then many places in southern Alberta would have been heading for a disaster where every facility is privately owned.
Another example of fixating on one thing while ignoring another during COVID has got to be supermarkets.
Public feedback on media platforms over the past few weeks included many Albertans feeling angry about shoppers who do not adhere to the directional arrows in the aisles.
Others were upset that not everyone is wearing a mask and would like to see masks become mandatory.
These same people are helping themselves to bottles of milk or items from the freezers in the supermarkets without a second thought. The new upright refrigerators and freezers mean opening and closing doors every time you want to retrieve something and place it in your shopping cart.
There do not appear to be any people wiping the door handles with disinfectant and there is probably no need to.
These handles have clearly not resulted in COVID-19 rampaging through the community in the last three months.
In fact for about two months there were no directional arrows on the floor either and the worst case scenario for rates of COVID-19 did not happen.
According to the data provided by the province last week there have been 10 deaths in the “south zone” attributable to COVID-19. It is worth noting that nine of those were in Brooks, one in Cardston and none in Medicine Hat. The total number of “influenza deaths” between Aug. 25, 2019 and May 2, 2020 was six. In 2015, a bad influenza year, there were 10 deaths in the south zone.
The total number of COVID-19 hospitalizations for the south zone, at its worst, was seven (there is no accumulative total).
The accumulative total for influenza hospitalizations in the south zone this year was 97. There were 176 in the south zone in 2018 which was a particularly bad year for influenza.
It looks as though lack of complete information is fueling fears unnecessarily and even creating the wrong impression.
This editorial originated in the Medicine Hat News.