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Scientists stumbling in the dark:
where is the credibility?

TORONTO – Just so that no-one gets the wrong impression, I am considered fully vaccinated for Covid-19, and have already had the now seemingly obligatory booster for greater efficacy. Nor am I ideologically or philosophically an “ant-vaxxer”. Neither I nor the Corriere are in the business of disseminating bad information, untruths or conspiracy theories – especially as they relate to the health and wellbeing of the population, irrespective of race, colour, sex, age.

That having been said, and two years into this “medical crisis” some incoherencies cry out for comment. Try as we might to report on issues in general, there is rarely one that is not Covid related.

This in part because, as a collective, we appear to be slow learners, notwithstanding the [now blatantly] vainglorious boasts at the beginning of this ordeal that we Canadians have less to worry about the spread of Covid because of the lessons we learned in dealing with Sars nearly two decades ago (emphasis added). I confess to no longer knowing what those lessons were.

Who is providing leadership? Medical experts (domestic, international) or politically elected ones? Politicos proclaim their slavish adherence to the advice of the very best scientific expertise. We do not have evidence that they critique their sources, the process they follow or the procedures for collecting the most up-to-date information on which they base their decisions on our behalf. The World Health Organization admits that data gathering has been inconsistent, reporting less than timely and analysis often haphazard.

But, “out of an abundance of caution” (remember that disclaimer) we have accepted blindly virtually everything thrown our way. Now with the Omicron variant, shall we repeat the question posed by a CBC reporter to the head of the science table in Ontario (I paraphrase): so the vaccines are no longer effective? To which he replied that the science seems to suggest their effectiveness has dropped to about 14%. Talk about confidence building (sarcasm intended).

Keep in mind that approximately 86% of the “eligible” population and about 80% of all Canadians have been vaccinated. Moreover, we had been told, once we reached 75% infection or vaccination we would have reached effective “herd immunity”. What happened?

Someone had better get a handle on a communications strategy that inspires confidence from and in our leaders. Those political leaders have abandoned decision-making to laboratory researchers whose livelihoods depends on sources not always motivate by naked altruism. Those Medical experts are making political decisions for which they have scarce preparation: no masks necessary, wear them if you like, must wear them, only certain types are effective… The unflappable Dr. Fauci of the Centre for Disease Control at the national Health Institute, USA, said more than a year ago that if Covid-19 is airborne, you already have it.

So what have we been measuring or testing while our political leadership has been tinkering with the economic and social dynamics we had become accustomed to deal with for decades after War II? Suddenly, despite all “efforts” and precautions, in one day, the USA announced 313,000 infections, Spain 100,000, France 180,000, the UK 168,000, Italy 78,000, Denmark in total lockdown for two weeks. Our Medical experts warn that “our” numbers are likely eight to ten times the numbers they announce (for Ontario, c. 9,000 per day).

Maybe Dr. Fauci was/is right: we all have it – the pandemic has become endemic. But, what is it we have? We have gone from an abundance to caution, to fear, to paranoia, to hyperbole, to hysteria. What next?

We are at year end. It is a good time to shuffle the cards and commit to a re-organization of the message, walk back the hyperbole and provide some measurable guides for effective control of what ever it is that we need to overcome.

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