The What: It’s not that politicians can’t stop COVID, it’s that they won’t.
The Why: Politicians don’t actually understand what COVID is, how it works, or how to beat it.
It’s not fair to judge someone on what they don’t know. My country beat COVID, so I’ll explain some things:
1) COVID-19 is not intelligent. It’s a virus, and a virus’ job is to infect things. That’s all it’s doing. It’s good at its job. It doesn’t know we exist, it just does.
2) COVID-19 is not playing politics. An infectious virus is not playing politics. It’s just infecting people. Once again, it’s good at its job.
3) COVID is not a political issue. It’s a public safety issue. The public is being massively infected, people are dying. Every single industry is being impacted, and many are dying.
4) COVID is being looked at as a Problem. Not an Emergency. This part is hard, because when we think of Emergencies we think of sudden occurrences: An Earthquake, a Hurricane, a Tsunami, a Snow Storm. COVID is an Emergency, but it doesn’t look like any of the above.
5) Because COVID is being treated like a problem, politicians are going through their usual methods. They’re trying to address what they can with the budget they have, without getting caught up in political bills that have to run through opposition parties. The goal is to save money, because it’s hard to get agreement without strings attached. Politics sucks for getting things done.
6) Politicians work for Taxpayers. They’re employed to enable better lives for the Taxpayers. The money they’re spending is our money. We’ve given them the power and responsibility to work on our behalf. Remember though, politics sucks for getting things done. Which means a lot of our money is wasted on people trying to get leverage in order to accomplish their goals. They’re spending ENORMOUS amounts of our money on things that aren’t fixing our problems.
So if you’re with me so far, COVID isn’t political. It’s a virus doing its job. Politicians’ job is to use the money we give them to create infrastructure and laws to improve our quality of life. COVID isn’t a Problem, it’s an Emergency, and needs to be treated like one. We’re paying them to do a job they’re not doing.
I think part of the issue is that politicians don’t know what kind of Emergency COVID is, but they love the economy, so I’ll try to think of a money based metaphor. I’m not a money guy, so this will be kinda loose. Please bear with me, I have good intentions.
COVID is less like a natural disaster, and more like Debt/Interest. If you’ve ever been in Debt, you’ll know that you are charged a fee for being in Debt. It costs you money to be poor. I know, right? You might be charged $20 a month for owing money. The more you owe, the more you pay every month. Maybe you’re paying $100 every month. That’s pretty shit, right? You’re spending money on not having money, which means you’re absolutely paying money to get nothing. This is exactly what COVID is doing, but the scale is exponentially larger.
COVID is like everyone getting simultaneous Debt. Everyone everywhere gets Debt. The amount they have depends on a bunch of factors. The fewer resources you have, the more Debt you have. Working in public is Debt. Taking public transit is Debt. Not being able to afford good PPE is Debt. Living in cramped areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain is Debt. The more Debt you rack up, the higher cost you have to pay every month.
But being rich isn’t enough to ignore Debt. You might have less Debt, but you’re not inoculated from it. The more Debt there is around you, the higher chance there is that you’ll pick some of it up.
Remember, it’s not just one Debt. All of us have Debt of differing amounts. When we put this together it’s not cumulative, it’s compounded. The more Debt society picks up, the more Debt we each accumulate. The Debt of others increases our Debt.
COVID has exponential growth. I repeat, it’s SO GOOD at its job. You know how local stores get utterly driven into the ground by big box stores and franchises? That’s what COVID is doing to every industry by saddling them with Debt. This is Debt with exponential growth, so every month, we all have to pay more and more.
What politicians and companies right now is making the mistake of thinking they’re inoculated from Debt if they just make more money than it. They’ll be able to Stave Off the Debt if they keep it at bay long enough to close a big deal that helps them pay it off in full. Spoiler, that’s not going to happen. They’re taking chances, and COVID is not. Remember, it’s good at its job. Politicians don’t seem to be. COVID will continue to saddle us with Debt while we waffle around, and they’ll do it faster than we can make money to pay it off.
Think about the huge costs spent on CERB. CERB is part of the Debt. We can’t not pay CERB, because HUMAN LIVES ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN MONEY. Not to be controversial or anything. People need money to live. The longer we’re in lockdown, the more CERB we pay. The point is not for the government to just give people free money forever, it’s to save the Taxpayers who pay their wages. It’s also a temporary measure. It’s supposed to get us through this so we can resume our lives once the pandemic is over. The longer we’re in this, the more CERB the government pays.
They have already wasted so much of our money accumulating Debt. Remember that with Debt, that monthly cost keeps coming. Spending money on not having money, right? It costs us a COLOSSAL amount to be in Debt, and the longer we are, the more it will cost. Every month we spent trying to mitigate the effects of Debt instead of paying it off was a month of blown human lives, Taxpayer money, and businesses in the drain, spreading more Debt to the wealthy. Nobody at all likes COVID, because it’s bad news for every single one of us.
This is all very gloomy, yes? But that doesn’t mean we are powerless. What would you tell your kid if they’d amassed too much Debt for them to handle? You’d tell them that you can beat Debt by paying it off and getting into the black. Once you’re in the black, no more monthly payments. Not only have you taken care of that ongoing cost, but you’ve likely created a framework of managing your money that allows you to make better decisions going forward.
Politicians won’t defeat COVID, but they can. Here are things that need doing in order to defeat COVID:
1) Money needs to be shifted to places where it makes sense.
This isn’t politics, and the most important thing to our country/province right now is to defeat COVID. Any economic bills that don’t work towards defeating COVID are wasting money. We don’t want industries to collapse and leave the population vulnerable, sure, but now is not a time to make money. It’s a time to defeat COVID. Doug Ford can take all the existing safety protocols away from industries AFTER we’ve defeated COVID. Before they get to have fun with Taxpayer money again, they need to do their jobs. Prevent Taxpayers from dying.
We don’t need any new construction projects. We don’t need to fund military purchases, or police munitions. We definitely don’t need to be paying the salaries of suspended cops. We’re in a restructuring period. We don’t need to enable leisure industries. We don’t need dining at restaurants or bars. Not even patios. We do not need people in public, and we ESPECIALLY do not need people drinking alcohol in public, inhibiting their decision making skills. They can do that just fine at home.
We need to look at budgets and re-prioritise where these funds go. If it’s a Taxpayer funded department and money is not going to infrastructure or projects that aid Taxpayers’ ability to live, it’s wasted money. That’s money that could go towards paying off Debt.
2) Letting Experts and Experiences drive policy.
There are people who know so much more than I ever will about all of this. We need to listen to them. It’s not important that they tell us what we want to hear, we need to listen to what we need to know. We need to take their advice and shape protocols around it. Otherwise we’re wasting Taxpayers money. Once more, politicians not doing their jobs.
We are not the only country experiencing COVID. Other countries have tried pre-emptive re-opening. They’ve tried making masks optional. They’ve tried bringing kids back to school. None of these strategies have worked, and we can see just how badly they haven’t worked. If politicians have this data and are choosing to make the same mistakes, they’re either idiots or callous. We need to follow effective strategies and fold them into our methodology. If experts say masks are mandatory indoors, we need to follow that advice. Same goes for social distancing, bubbles, sanitising, maximum capacities, etc. Otherwise we’re wasting money and accruing so much more Debt.
3) Excessive and clear public information.
It is not the fault of the public for not knowing how COVID works. There is a lot of information out there, and what we’re learning about COVID changes constantly. The public needs up to date information. All of the public. Don’t leave rural areas out of the loop either. This information needs to be clear, so people can follow it regardless of education levels. We need daily broadcasts from Parliament that are apolitical and only focused on science. They need to be conducted by experts, not politicians. The public have a right to know what we’re up against, and not to be taken advantage of for the goals of the wealthy.
We also need the Why. People rarely ever learn if you just tell them the What. Without context or deeper understanding, it’s easy to forget. If they know the Why, they can take productive and intentional steps towards keeping themselves safe, instead of making unfortunate but understandable mistakes.
We need to know what a bubble is. We need to know how it works, its goals and objectives. We need to know scenarios in which our bubbles could be popped, leaving us exposed. Did you know that if you’re eating indoors, you’re not being safe if you or anyone in your bubble is next to or across from someone in another bubble? If anyone in your bubble is exposed, everyone in your bubble is exposed. That’s how the metaphor works.
Plagiarise info from other successful countries, I don’t care. I know this is expensive. It’s part of the cost of paying down COVID’s Debt. Do everything in your power to protect the public. Misinformation kills.
4) We need to go back into lockdown.
PLEASE LISTEN TO ME. I know how much it sucks. I know how dispiriting it is, but it’s important that we don’t confuse inconvenience for a violation of our rights. The more people in public, the higher chance of exposure. The more interaction between people, the higher chance of exposure. The more exposure, the longer we have to deal with COVID. Remember, we’re trying to beat COVID, not learn to live with it. We all need to make sacrifices, even if it’s inhibiting what we want to do. We need to look at all the ways that COVID could spread and take away all of those opportunities. We don’t compromise with COVID. Like we were supposed to do in lockdown.
We don’t need to go back into lockdown forever, but until we’re at a point where the cases are low enough they can be tracked by Contact Tracing. Once we know who has COVID, can keep those people safe and isolated. If we have a framework set up that can take care of these people, then we will be able to handle new cases while reducing the threat to lives, jobs and the economy. While lockdown is on, PAY TAXPAYERS WHO CAN’T AFFORD TO LIVE OTHERWISE. Even if the government doesn’t care about the lives of its citizens, it should care that the more people who die, the less tax they get to collect, and the smaller their budgets get. The quicker we deal with this, the quicker we can go back to our lives.
Did you know that back in my home country you can shake hands with strangers? Pash a hot person in a public bar? Walk around without masks? My home country is smaller than Ontario. The country has a GDP 1/3 the size of Ontario’s. My country beat COVID, and they have far fewer resources. The reason was cultural, not economic.
Information from experts was prioritised, heeded and understood. Communication was transparent, informative and easy to follow. The public knew why they had to take actions like wearing masks, staying home, keeping safe distance. Because of this, the public was able to take the initiative and do what needed to be done to keep each other safe. They beat it. Boring story, but a better ending. Let’s end this too. Please.