Moving Targets

‘The Covid vaccine is first and foremost about self-immunisation since the vaccinated apparently can still spread the virus, and so far, nothing changes for the vaccinated. The same rules still apply, don’t they?’ I asked Camp after I sat down in our corner. We feel we should support the pub and our servers who are fighting for their existence since the pandemic started.

            ‘Yes, I believe so’, Camp nodded. ‘Same quarantine rules, same distancing, mask wearing and social conduct. Not sure when all that is changing. When the curve is completely flat and no fatalities due to this virus?’ Camp said. ‘That would mean never.’

            ‘Or when the politicians decide it’s good for the people or the economy or themselves. Meanwhile, the procurement of vaccines is a scandal of incompetence.’

            ‘Clare has a friend who spends winters in Palm Springs. She already had her vaccines and wants to drive back to Canada. She has to have a neg test 72 hours before crossing the border, another test at the border; 14 days quarantine and then another test. Her vaccine immunity does not count for anything.’

            ‘We are now ranked 38th in the world and falling rapidly according to the latest University of Oxford data on vaccinations per capita. Even more embarrassing is that we’re the only G7 country having to tap into a supply of vaccine meant primarily for poorer developing countries. Trudeau is downplaying the fiasco as a ‘hick-up’. He doesn’t want to talk about it but instead points to Canada’s most strident travel restrictions as if that is the main culprit.’

            ‘Maybe we expect too much from our politicians. Everybody wants solutions, wants this pandemic to be over, wants our political leaders to do the right thing,’ I said. ‘What do you think of Trudeau? You used to like him.’

            ‘I used to and I still think he’s better than the alternative but arrogance plus ignorance equals incompetence. Ignorant with his dealings with the Chinese; arrogant with his presumptuous traveller protocols and incompetent with the vaccine procurement and rollout,’ Camp said.

            ‘Let’s face it, the task of vaccinating the world is too big, too many people reject the jabs and new strains evolving all the time. Governments and people need to transition from emergency measures to a world that is sustainable, in other words, living with the virus, indefinitely. And why do a third of the residents in care homes refuse to be vaccinated?’

            ‘I think there is a variety of reasons: Mistrust, they don’t want to be guinea pigs, they don’t think it will improve their quality of life and many believe in all kinds of conspiracies. It’s complicated.’

            ‘And when most everybody is immune either from recovery or the vaccine why then do people in a low-risk group still need the vaccine?’ I asked.

            ‘Good questions,’ Camp said. ‘I would argue because it’s not about you but about who you put at risk. Even if you don’t get sick you can spread the virus. Apparently.’

            ‘They still tell us it’s a free country and you have a choice. What happens if you refuse the vaccine and then get sick? Or even worse you make somebody else sick?’       

            ‘That will be the time when they implement penalties. Punitive measures in lieu of mandatory vaccination? Coerce instead of convince, patronize instead of educate, as government tends to do.’

            ‘We live in a dystopia, where a virus is forcing us into anti-social behaviour that brings out the worst and the best in people. The worst are the denouncers who spy and report on their neighbours, and the best are those neighbours who welcome you home with flowers and treats and offer to help any way they can.’

             ‘Did you know that local film crews have to take three Covid tests each week at $200 a pop, paid for by the production. They also have to wear a mask at all times. The actors, euphemistically referred to as ‘the talent’ have to wear masks and visors,’ I said.

            ‘That sounds drastic. Makes me wonder why the healthcare workers don’t have to take regular tests. It’s them that are exposed, not so much the film crews.’

            ‘How about servers in restaurants and bars?’ Vicky said, when she dropped off two fresh pints, having overheard our banter. ‘We’re just as much front-line workers.’

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