A few COVID-19 considerations

The weekly editorial for the 100 Mile Free Press

It’s clear that the current COVID-19 pandemic is going to have long-running consequences and considerations well past when the disease has run its course.

One of these is in health care. If you’re a Grade 12 student currently deciding on what career you want to go into, health care is probably a safe bet. Not only were we already in need of more health care professionals from general practitioners to nurses, especially in rural areas, but the need is also going to go up. In some of the worst-hit countries, they’ve lost health care professionals taking care of the sick. Hopefully, we can avoid that in Canada. However, even if we do, the postponement of most non-urgent surgeries and other health services means we’re undoubtedly going to see big backlogs in years to come.

Knowing all of that, we should also keep in mind to exercise patience and appreciation with our health care professionals not just during the pandemic but also for years after. They’re going to come out of the stress of COVID-19 and be saddled with a lot of extra work. Right now is not a good time to drop off doughnuts or flowers if we’re trying to minimize contact. However, in a year from now, it would probably be much appreciated.

Secondly, we have to ask ourselves some questions about a few infrastructure pieces. First, we have to ask ourselves if we should be producing more essential products in Canada? And the answer is almost undoubtedly yes. Whether it’s facemasks, gloves, hand sanitizer or ventilators, we should be able to meet a surge in demand without relying on other countries. It’s become increasingly clear this is a weak link in our health care system. Obviously, many businesses have stepped up to produce these products, such as distillers being authorized to make hand sanitizer, during the current crisis. Every business stepping up in such a way deserves a pat on the back. However, once you get past the simpler products, you have to wonder whether the manufacturing will be up to the same standard. Furthermore, we should be able to meet a surge in demand without deputizing other industries. In the current situation, it seems clear that the production of these products is essentially part of a country’s health care system. We should treat it as such.

Lastly, in recent years priority has been put on improving internet access. It seems obvious that this is an absolutely critical portion of infrastructure. Not only are many people working from home, but a lack of internet access will also hamper continuous education. Furthermore, given how critical it’s proving to be, we should perhaps also reconsider whether we really want China to help set up our 5G.


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