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What is the cost of COVID-19 restrictions

Letter writer thinks pandemic response is irrational, misguided and inconsistent

Dear Editor,

Are we properly considering the cost of all the COVID restrictions?

Just within my own neighbourhood, I know of multiple people combatting loneliness, one person struggling with depression and thoughts of euthanasia, two deaths of isolated individuals, and one suicide.

According the the BC Center for Disease Control statistics specific to COVID-19, in the Northern Health region we have had a total of nine deaths since the beginning of the year.

Meanwhile, 106 people in the Northern Health region died of drug overdoses since the beginning of the year, 10 just in October.

Domestic violence and abuse is up. Neighbours who used to look out for each other are now being encouraged to snitch on each other.

Disposable masks litter the streets. Small business owners struggle to find space in their cramped floor plans for social distancing, while companies such as Amazon, Canadian Tire, Costco, and Walmart are raking it in.

The elderly are barely allowed contact with their loved ones even as they near death’s door.

Young people are being tempted to call in sick instead of working for a living because they easily recieve a cheque from the government.

National debt increases weekly.

And now when we need them most, religious gatherings are banned. When I told my four-year-old son that we couldn’t go to church because it has been deemed non-essential, he saw through the inconsistency of these restrictions immediately and called it how it is: “But we can go to the swimming pool!”

Please, Bonnie Henry, explain why I can’t enjoy worship and fellowship with other believers in a safe, distanced setting, but it’s OK to spend several hours splashing and mingling at the local pool with two dozen other people.

Alcohol and cannabis are not essential. UFC Fight Night at the sports bar is not essential. Movies are not essential. In fact, most of these things are not truly beneficial to society in the long run, yet they are still on the “essential” list.

Seeking out the hurt, lost, and lonely is essential. Caring for the elderly, especially when all they have left to enjoy in this life is visits with family, is essential. Small businesses are essential. Motivating people to work rather than collect handouts is essential. Gathering together for worship and fellowship is essential. All of these things are beneficial to society in the long run, but we are rapidly losing the freedom to enjoy these things.

Let’s rethink the irrational response to the COVID-19 pandemic and come up with some consistent guidelines that protect the vulnerable without completely crippling the basic, essential functions of the rest of society.

Austin Olij,