Trust the science, we’re constantly told these dreary, daunting days.
Not a problem. But can someone tell us if it’s Monday’s science we’re supposed to believe, or should we hang around until Thursday rolls around?
Because, increasingly during this global pandemic, it seems the politicians, alongside those garrulous, gung-ho public health experts, are simply making it up as we go along.
Remember, when we first heard about something nasty over in China called COVID-19, how the World Health Organization – quickly followed by top doctors across North America – assured us there was no need to stop foreign visitors arriving.
Heck, this virus might not even spread from human to human – so keep away from that tempting serving of delicious bat soup and you’ll probably be fine and dandy.
Well, that advice didn’t last too long – though long enough to spread the virus across the planet.
Were those esteemed scientists at all dismayed they’d got that wrong? Heavens no: in short order we were adamantly informed that donning face masks was a daft thing for the general public to bother with: not just the WHO gave out this morsel of scientific wisdom but the venerable U.S. Centres for Disease Control joined in, as did that country’s surgeon general.
Yes, wearing masks would simply breed a false sense of security and, regardless, us plebeians were so daft and ham-fisted we couldn’t put them on properly, anyhow.
That was back in March. Three months later anyone daring to question the efficacy of mask wearing was deemed akin to those believing the moon landings actually took place on a remote Hollywood back lot. Being an anti-masker was now a term of ridicule, rather than a badge of scientific merit, as it was 90 days previous.
But, through it all, that most trusted method of virus control remained constant: lockdowns, close downs and stay-at-home orders being the de facto answer everywhere. This stricture was enforced no matter what subsequent blight it might bring to people’s livelihoods or nations’ economies.
Except today scientists are having yet another Doubting Thomas moment.
Last week the WHO announced that, yes indeed, closing down the economies of the world might actually push so many poor folk into abject poverty that this COVID cure will end up killing many more millions than the virus itself.
“We in the World Health Organization do not advocate lockdowns as the primary means of control of this virus,” is how Dr. David Nabarro, special envoy on COVID-19, phrased things. Forgive me if, by the time this column appears, the science has changed yet again. And they say a week is a long time in politics?
So, bringing it all back home to Alberta, it’s indeed heartening our premier, who increasingly seems to have lost his nerve in cutting the ludicrous amount of money his government spends, has at least nailed his courage to the sticking place when it comes to further enforced closures of our economy under the guise of virus fighting.
Yes, Jason Kenney announced last week another round of enforced lockdowns is off the table.
Thankfully someone in authority is finally resisting the urge to play Winston Churchill at every opportunity: promising to fight COVID on the landing grounds, the streets, the beaches and never surrender.
OK, I suspect some might have judged me glib by now. But sometimes sarcasm might not be such a low form of wit. Not when facing the arrogance and ego of those who remain so cocksure they’re right on Monday but still lack the humility to admit they were wrong by Thursday.
Lock down Alberta again and we might as well turn out the lights.
Chris Nelson is a syndicated columnist.