Column: Economy may reopen, but business as usual still a ways off

In Plain View by Lachlan Labere

An image of a different curve related to COVID-19 is making the rounds on social media.

It’s shows a time-series graph for new cases of infection, with one line measuring the impact of having kept to “business as usual,” and another of proceeding “with prevention and precaution efforts.” Predictably, the business as usual line shows new cases shooting up, while the second line shows the number peaking in half the time before starting to drop. The most interesting detail is the warning the image includes about what begins just before the drop – the “See, it wasn’t so bad./We overreacted!” phase.

This graph is more social commentary than scientific. As for accuracy, it’s pretty safe to say the actions taken in Canada to control the spread of the virus have been effective – though some have argued we should have taken action sooner. It’s also reasonable to assume we have yet to see that peak. The infection rate in Canada continues to rise. As of April 18, the federal government had recorded 32,400 confirmed cases, and 1,346 deaths related to virus.

Read more: World COVID-19 update: Economy may surge 5.8% next year; Drug companies join forces

Read more: Salmon Arm man offers insight, advice from quarantine in France

Despite our not yet having flattened the COVID-19 curve, there is already public push back against the lockdown measures that have, well, flattened the employment, resulting in a 7.2 per cent and climbing unemployment rate in B.C. (and a 7.8 per cent nationally). A No More Lockdowns protest was held in Vernon over the Easter weekend. The organizer suggested we should be focusing efforts on quarantining the sick, and not “restrict the movement of healthy people.” Taiwan took such an approach. A nation of 23 million, Taiwan has reported about 400 cases (with around 53,000 tested). However, this has involved a police-state effort of control the protest organizer, who suggested Canada’s approach has been “an experiment to see how docile we are,” may not support – even though Taiwan’s focus has been on the sick and those who have come in contact with them.

Mid-May has become the target date for “reopening our economy” and May 31 the Canada/U.S. border. However, as a virus respects neither politics nor financial need, it may be a while longer before we see a return to business as usual.

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