As handfuls of states in America consider their plans to re-open their economies and communities, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced last week that Canada won’t “return to normal” until a viable coronavirus vaccine hits the market, a prospect that could take a year and a half to achieve.
“We will not be coming back to our former normal situation; we can’t do that until we have developed a vaccine and that could take 12 to 18 months,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters last Thursday, according to The National Post. “We don’t exactly know how long—we hope it’s earlier rather than later.”
Canada is at a “fork in the road” Trudeau added. “The path we take is up to us. It will take months of continued, determined effort.”
The announcement came just hours after Canadian health officials released their new projections on coronavirus deaths in Canada.
Current models project that the best-case scenario is 11,000 to 22,000 deaths if 2.5 to 5 percent of Canada’s 37.5 million citizens become infected and the country maintains “stronger epidemic control” with a “high level of social distancing measures.”
“In the bad scenarios, where infections reach up to 70 to 80 percent of the population, deaths go well over 300,000,” according to the Post.
Trudeau’s prediction that draconian measures will need to continue for the foreseeable future mirror those of his high-profile liberal ilk, such as Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
Earlier this month, Gates told CBS This Morning that life after the coronavirus will not be the same “for some time,” or at least until the population is “widely vaccinated.”
The fear of large public gatherings would could drop closer to normal “once we have the vaccination,” he added, citing the same roughly 18-month timeline.
“We’ll have a lot of unusual measures until we get the world vaccinated,” Gates said in a more recent video interview with The Daily Show host Trevor Noah. “You know, seven billion people, that’s a tall order but it is where we need to get to.”
“You know, things can reopen if we do the right things in the summer but it won’t be completely normal,” Gates continued.
While no one should take lightly the many lives lost to the novel coronavirus, it is incredibly concerning that the availability of a vaccine would be the main criterion for our society to regain some semblance of normalcy.
Dr. Paul Offit, a notable vaccine advocate and co-inventor of the rotavirus vaccine, has suggested that a safe and effective vaccine for the novel coronavirus would—if proper protocols are followed—take years to achieve, not mere months.
So, if a vaccine is rushed to market within the next year or so, will our choices then be to risk taking it, or risk being excluded from society? We’re already seeing how miserably the latter option is unfolding for the average citizen.
“No one seems to be willing to consider the other side of this,” Dr. Offit said in a poignant Facebook post back in March. “No one is working. Thousands are losing their jobs. Businesses are going under. As is true in previous financial disasters, there will be an increase in homelessness, addiction, crime, stress-related disorders, suicides, and domestic violence. It is likely we will approach an unemployment rate of up to 20 percent. That too is a public health disaster.”
“I’m not trying to minimize this pandemic at all,” Offit concluded. “I’m just arguing for a more surgical approach. One that tries to best minimize both sides of the harm. The one we are currently dealing with and the one to come.”
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