For nearly two years, politicians have promised that the end of the pandemic is near: another two weeks, another layer of masking, another jab, and it will all be over. Now it appears that we are, at last, entering the final stages of the viral contagion – and yet the contagion of alarm is ramping up instead of dying down.
Instead of welcoming the return of a healthy, functioning society, our leaders continue to stoke fear, as with Quebec Premier François Legault’s announcement that unvaccinated people in Quebec will pay a substantial fine for not getting a COVID-19 shot. This comes as many note we are entering the concluding chapter of the pandemic.
Out of evolutionary necessity, coronaviruses typically mutate to a more contagious but less lethal form. That is because viruses want to live another day and do all they can to survive. This pattern was long expected. I was told by my epidemiologist contacts at the beginning of the pandemic nightmare that this would be the case, and the present Omicron variant seems to be following the very trajectory they predicted.
In those early days of 2020, we deferred to our politicians and their experts, in part because we did not know what we were up against. Was this like the devastating Ebola outbreak, where huge percentages (up to 50%) of people infected would die? We had no idea. Therefore, we endured the lockdowns because we had limited data and we wanted to do the right thing to ensure others were not in danger.
Now we know the COVID-19 virus is not like Ebola. The fatality rate is barely 1%, and the vast majority of those who become seriously ill have one or more comorbidities. The disease is virtually non-fatal in children. Yet, fear has seized us like a vice grip. Every day we are pounded with the worst-case scenarios from media, politicians and vaccine makers, who focus exclusively on the virus without any mention of other diseases, risks, or harms. We have gone from two weeks to flatten the curve to two years. We have gone from being vaccinated with one jab, to two, to three to, in some countries, four.
Our fear inhibits us from seeing what is happening in plain sight. We are like the test subjects in that well-known psychological experiment where viewers are asked to count how many times a basketball is passed from one person to another in a video clip. Most viewers are so fixated on the ball that they are oblivious to what is happening in the background. A person dressed in a gorilla suit walks onscreen, beats their chest, and then ambles out of view. When viewers are asked how many times the ball was passed, virtually all can identify the right number. But when asked about whether they saw the “gorilla” walk by, most ask in surprise, “What gorilla?”
I suggest we are much like the viewers in that psychological test. We are so fixated by fear that we have forgotten the basic science of viral infection. Meanwhile, we are so busy keeping track of case numbers that we are oblivious to the collapse of our social and economic stability, the loss of our freedoms, and the rise of authoritarian decision-making.
Of course, viruses – including COVID-19 – can be deadly. Of course we ought to take precautions if we are sick, so that we avoid spreading the disease to the vulnerable. But that does not mean that we have the ability to stop all fatalities. It does not mean that we can control the virus or its inevitable, mutant variants. It does not mean that the virus will always remain as virulent as its first iteration. It does not mean that we shut everything down for years at a time without expecting drastic changes to our economy and way of life. It does not mean we lose our freedom to ask tough questions of our politicians and our healthcare experts.
We are now watching the COVID-19 virus do what the epidemiologist said it would do: the Omicron variant is more contagious, but neither as severe nor as fatal as the initial variant that emerged from China. Tragically, some people are still dying – but most are suffering from a case of the sniffles. Meanwhile, it’s worth noting that the vaccinated are being hospitalized in equal or even greater numbers than the unvaccinated.
On January 11, 2022, the WHO stated that the Omicron variant will not be the last variant. While the WHO still supports the vaccines as a “protection against severe disease,” it notes that “vaccine effectiveness will be reduced against symptomatic disease caused by the Omicron variant.” Thus, the WHO states, “a vaccination strategy based on repeated booster doses of the original vaccine composition is unlikely to be appropriate or sustainable.” So, the increased use of boosters which is being promoted by Quebec’s new requirement is, according to the WHO, “unlikely to be appropriate or sustainable.”
The vast majority of Canadians have already been vaccinated. The minority that remain unvaccinated are entitled to ask questions and think carefully about their decision. Yes, we all have a responsibility to ensure that we are not unduly endangering others – but does that include forcing everyone to get a vaccine that still allows people to spread the disease it supposedly stops? Various claims about the efficacy of the vaccine have now been disproven. Further, we have numerous accounts of adverse effects from the vaccines themselves. There is strong evidence that the vaccines cause inflammation and blood clots, among other concerns.
In the past, we would have rejected this vaccine for such poor performance. In 1976, the United States was caught up with the fear of a swine flu epidemic. A mass vaccination plan was initiated as the politicians banded together and called on citizens to take the jab. Rather than being driven by science, it became a political campaign. The politicians refused to adapt to new evidence because they were committed to the cause. Ultimately, however, the vaccine proved to be too deadly to keep administering – thirty-two deaths stopped the program.
It’s not hard to see the parallels to our present day. Positions are so deeply entrenched that politicians are promising to make life difficult for the unvaccinated, even when such mandates go against the current scientific reality – not to mention the very principles of our society. After all, is this really the kind of world we want to live in? One where people lose jobs, cannot see loved ones, and pay hefty fines unless they conform to dictates of those in power?
Over the last two years we’ve seen contradictory messaging and silencing of all debate or opposition. The vaccines themselves have been pushed with threatening rhetoric, job losses, and now a financial penalty. Further, we are told that after receiving the vaccine under such duress, we did so “voluntarily.”
Does anyone else see the gorilla? Or is it just me?
 Provincial data from Ontario states that, as of January 13, 2022, 68% of patients (1,894 out of 2,771) currently in hospital with COVID-19 are fully vaccinated. Of those in ICU, 181 are vaccinated and 165 are unvaccinated. Yet politicians continue to accuse the unvaccinated of overwhelming our healthcare system.
 By comparison, the CDC reports that adverse effects from the COVID-19 vaccines in the United States include 57 cases of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) and 9 deaths; 294 reports of Guillain-Barre Syndrome; 2,077 cases of myocarditis and pericarditis; and 11,225 reported deaths following administration of the vaccine.