‘Let’s say that one percent of the North American population – US, Mexico, Canada – has been infected with the Covid-19 virus – many of them unknowingly. That’s about 5 million people, almost double the official number of 3.2 million. That leaves 99 percent of the population untouched but still vulnerable.’
‘Some might say it’s maybe 50 million infected, which still leaves 90 percent in the clear. What are you trying to say?’ I asked Camp, who looked out at the calm waters of Gibsons harbour, tapping his fingers on the table. Obviously, something was bothering my friend.
‘It just seems to me that this virus will be with us for years and part of the influenza wave that washes over humanity every winter. The CDC estimates that 80’000 Americans died of the flu last year and every year. There is a meme circulating on social media which claims that the Covid-19 death rate, without a vaccine, is lower than the flu death rate with a vaccine. By the way a meme is a concept of beliefs or behaviour that spreads from person to person, much like a virus.’
‘Really, all these new words. Anyway, that meme can’t be true,’ I said. ‘It’s just a bad rumour, fake news.’
‘Yes, but many people believe it. According to Health Canada stats, the mortality rate of Covid-19 is 22 deaths per 100’000 population (in Quebec it is 62) whereas for influenza the number is between 9 and 13. But that’s with us using the vaccine. It’s true that without it, the rate would be much higher, according to Dr. Allison McGeer,’ Camp said.
‘It just goes to show how confused and scared everybody is. It’s a numbers game. So many opinions and theories, so much bullshit and so little certainty. That’s what’s so unsettling about this epidemic, the unknowns and the speculations,’ I said. And here is a direct quote from my Swiss newspaper. I looked down at my phone and read the quote to Camp.
Americans are paying the price for Trump’s ignorance. The first wave of infections has killed 125,000 people in the US, and now the second is looming. But the president is either intellectually incapable or politically unwilling to adequately address the most dangerous pandemic in 100 years. This will only change when an adult finally sits in the White House’.
‘You don’t have to convince me but rather those who keep flaunting the health expert’s recommendations and basic rules of conduct. And without leadership and example, the children will run wild.’
‘As six partiers did, returning from Serbia to Switzerland. One of them was a super-spreader. They visited several clubs and restaurants and infected 300 people in one night. Tracing was only partially successful because many club goers gave fake email addresses,’ I said.
‘Novak Djokovic behaved no better at his recent tennis event in Belgrade. Both him and his wife tested positive. He is also an anti-vaccine proponent.’
‘That’s not what’s required during a pandemic,’ Camp said. ‘We need discipline, common sense, respect and responsibility. All virtues, notably absent in the current White House as well as apparently in many people from Miami to Belgrade. Makes the whole response to this pandemic even more uncertain. Just look at Sweden, which according to all numbers and statistics has failed in its passive response and has now three times as many deaths as all other Scandinavian countries combined,’ Camp said.
‘I thought you were in Sweden’s corner?’ I said.
‘I was hopeful they were right but have since been proven wrong. I’m firmly in Canada’s and particularly in B.C.’s corner now.’
‘Here is your second pint, boys,’ Vicky said, taking our minds off the bleeding Covid for a moment. She set the beers on the empty table next to us and we noticed she was not wearing a mask. ‘No more mask?’ I asked.
‘It’s impossible to wear it for hours at a time, every day, therefore this distance serving. By the way where are your masks?’
‘Oh, mine is in my car,’ I said.
‘And mine is at the store,’ Camp said. We both felt like busted grade school boys.
‘Lucky for us all, nobody here is sick. Let’s keep it that way.’