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"Notes" #34

I'm at a Loss!

The anthem singer for the Vancouver Canucks lost his job because he went to or sang at a protest against mask wearing; a Steinbach area church is chalking up thousands of dollars in fines for having religious services - again no masks; a number of letters to the editor saying "no way" can they force me to wear a mask; on the Internet, more than 30 anti-mask people walking through a Saskatoon mall despite the law; and yesterday I read where Ontario is expecting a fair number of citizens to opt out of getting the vaccine (in the US it's over 50 per cent) and they are discussing possible reprisals for that action.

I am shaking my head. I don't get it! I just don't understand people's decision to not wear a mask or to not get the vaccine. Are these actions, the wearing of masks and getting a vaccine to eradicate COVID not good choices to help reduce the number of sick and dying people, to end the pandemic, to help us get back to normal and get the economy rolling once again in a positive direction? Or are these anti-mask, anti-vaccine people so self-centred that they don't care about others, only their own comfort level. Or do they actually believe that taking these precautions will not be medically helpful? Or perhaps even harmful?

Clue me in; give me some feedback please on this line of thinking. ( I am having a great deal of difficulty understanding the decisions that some people are making about their health and that of their neighbours.

What are your thoughts about these anti-vacine, anti-mask group-gathering folks?


I wrote the above on December 11. On December 13 I was reading an article by Murray Sinclair, Senator and Chief Commissioner of The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, in the latest edition of Maclean's magazine, and low and behold, part of my question about "why" people aren't wearing masks and preparing to take the vaccine was answered.

The Anishinaabe,  my people, use the term "nii-konasiitook," which means "all of my relations," when speaking. It reflects the belief that all people hold each other as well as the environment, including animals and plants, a duty of respect. In turn, a healthy environment provides for our well-being, through clean air and water, plentiful food and favourable weather. The respect is mutual.

When we act with respect for other beings, we also act with self-respect, and in humanity's long-term interests.

Thank you Senator Sinclair. Yes, I believe society has wandered off this delicate balance between nature and humans, between "me" and "we". I believe we have put the "Me" before the planet and our neighbours and there is a huge price to pay for that stance.


COVID-19 has kept us from seeing family and friends. It has decimated long-standing traditions and has made spontaneous gatherings and shows of affection unlawful.

Social interaction, which most of us have put on hold for the last nine months, is the number one factor in the Brigham Young study (below) of health and longevity, and Close relations is second. Having read this study, I have somewhat of an understanding as to why there is such an increase in anxiety and depression, despair, and a sense of hopelessness in our society - it has much to do with the isolation from our friends and family. I knew relationships and social interaction were important, but the pandemic has really shone a light on just how critical they are.

 COVID-19 is not always the cause of these feelings, but the disease has certainly exacerbated whatever people's issues were before the pandemic struck. The emotional and psychological damage that COVID-19 has imposed on our society has been brought to the fore.

A study by Brigham Young University has identified 10 factors that can be used to predict how long people will live (and you need to be in good health to live longer). The list includes:
     10. Clean air
      9. Hypertension
      8. Lean versus overweight
      7. Exercise
      6. Cardiac rehab
      5. Flu vaccine
      4. Overuse of alcohol or drugs
      3. Smoking
      2. Close relations
      1. Social interaction

How are you doing in regards to this list? Do you need to plan a cruise or pick out a casket?

In my lifetime I have not been faced with the undue hardship of having to go to war. Neither I nor my family have seen those terrible catastrophes that change one's life. By some standards, I have led a serene and perhaps boring life but have always had choices based on hope, hard work, and the belief that I was in charge of my life.

COVID-19 has changed that. It is the first real catastrophe, outside of those small ones I have created with poor choices, that I have experienced in my life. And you know, the price to stay healthy in this catastrophe is not really that high. I am not referring to the price people pay when they have COVID-19, that's a very high price, but the price of staying safe and healthy doesn't seem overwhelming to me. Yes I have to wear a mask, keep 6 feet from others when I leave my home, wash my hands, and keep the groups down to just those in my bubble/household. I don't have to carry a gun in a war zone, or haul bodies out of landslides or from under collapsed buildings, or do without food, or toilet paper, or 415 TV channels.

Actually life is pretty darn great, and I say this with a very big "If"'... If you have a steady source of income. If you are not responsible for home schooling children. And if you don't have a loved one who is dying or has died and you weren't able to say goodbye. Steady income or little income, kids or no kids, I don't believe the behaviours that help keep us safe from COVID-19 make our lives so difficult that we need to protest and cry "violation of my civil rights" and put our own and our neighbours' health at risk.

Please give me your feedback-- how is COVID-19 playing havoc in your life? How are you successfully dealing with the restrictions that COVID-19 has placed on your life. Any funny stories you care to share (I know there are lots of tragic ones).