The days are getting longer and I was able to walk to our pub before it got dark. Camp was already nursing his first pint when I got there. These are the slow days at his book store. Few people were in at this hour but when I mentioned this to Vicky, she assured me that weekends were packed. ‘Everybody wants to get out and we have to turn people away.’
‘Camp, I’ve read about a new study by two ETH researchers in Zurich,’ I said. ‘They calculated that infections could be massively reduced if large parts of the population were to regularly perform spit tests. The study authors are convinced that with such a mass test concept, many lockdown measures could be dispensed with.’
‘I agree. We now know what works: Testing and vaccinating, and yet here in Canada both are a complete management failure. Prophylactic quick tests are a great screening tool which can weed out a lot of asymptomatic carriers. Where companies, resorts and schools are using them, the case numbers are falling dramatically, but here in Canada we have restrictions, stay at home edicts, fines, confinement and punishments for those who do not follow the orders,’ Camp said.
‘Why don’t we know if you can still spread the virus when you’ve been vaccinated or when you recovered from the virus? And why do governments not deploy the millions of quick tests they are sitting on?’
‘You want answers for everything don’t you?’ Camp said, ‘First of all, they don’t have enough long-term data from the vaccinated, because they just started jabbing people in the arm, but you’re right, we should have some research from the millions that have recovered. The answer to your second question is that the powers that be don’t seem to want to deploy the quick tests because that would give the oversight and control to individuals and private companies to monitor themselves. It’s all about control, not only of the protocols and the vaccine acquisition and distribution but also the messaging.’
‘It’s a shame. While some countries are opening up, mostly due to speedy vaccinations and broad testing, we are now one of the most restrictive destinations and slowest to vaccinate,’ I said.
‘Come the fall, when we all have our shots, this will all fade away, especially when Trudeau calls an election. Nobody will want to remember the reactionary policies and non-sensical restrictions. We will be immune and wary, emotionally scarred but socially active once again. And in the summer, we will be outside,’ Camp said.
We both concentrated on our beers, watching a flock of geese flying and honking over the harbour while the sun was just highlighting the snow-capped coastal mountains across Howe Sound.
Vicky brought us a second round. Today she wore a purple mask with fringes. I asked her if she would take a daily quick test, if available, before coming to work.
‘Of course. I would feel a lot more relaxed and safer, knowing that I’m not contagious or infected. Maybe get rid of this mask which give me ‘mask mouth’ and a headache. Also, I deal with so many people here and then I can’t see any of my friends because of ‘no social contacts’. How does that make sense?’
‘It doesn’t Vicky, we’re with you. Camp and I are not supposed to meet at each other’s house but we can meet here at the pub.’
‘Crazy logic. I don’t understand it anymore.’
‘You’re not alone Vicky, we don’t either.’
We left our front-line-server a big tip.