To The Editor,

Like most people, I am alarmed by the rapid spread of the Covid-19 virus.  At the same time, I am also deeply concerned by the economic devastation that is accompanying the social lock-down strategy of containing the pandemic.

As I write, there are 177 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in my home province of Ontario, out of a total population of just under 15 million.  Today the Premier of Ontario declared a public health state of emergency, shutting down schools and other public facilities, restricting travel and putting thousands of people in service and cultural industries out of work.

I have been studying some of the statistics emerging from the terrible situation in Italy.  Sadly, many people have died – 2,503 as of today.  According to data from the Italian National Health Institute, 90% of those who have died as a result of Covid-19 in Italy were aged 70 or over; the average age of those deceased who have been positively-tested for the virus is 81.

Some 80% of the deceased had two or more major chronic diseases such as diabetes or cancer; 50% concurrently suffered from three or more serious chronic conditions.  Less than 1% of the deceased were deemed to be otherwise healthy persons without a serious pre-existing chronic disease.

On the other hand, according to the WHO reports I have studied, there thankfully have been no (zero) Corvid-19 related deaths among children under nine years of age anywhere in the world to this point, and only a very few among the under-20 population as a whole.  According to the analysis, for the healthy general population of school and working age a Corvid-19 infection results in a mild to moderate course of flu-like symptoms.

I take the Corvid-19 pandemic very seriously.  I am not indifferent to the vulnerability of the elderly – after all, I am a senior myself and I do love my 94-year-old mother.  I can fully understand the need to quarantine or self-isolate them and other at-risk groups or individuals, and to provide special services to support them/us.  I can understand to a degree the need to control or restrict international travel, and to carry out systematic testing for the virus.

However, based on the facts as I understand them:

  • I do not understand at all the need to lock-down entire nations or populations, or to collapse the global economy.
  • I do not understand how it makes sense to loose a medical strategy that effectively undermines all social determinants of health.
  • I do not understand how it makes any sense to pull the carpet out from under all small and medium businesses, and many large ones and throw our young people into unemployment and homelessness.

I am left wondering: which is the real crisis, this nasty virus or the way our leaders are responding to it?

Derek Evans, Vankleek Hill, ON