Yes, this week Toronto closed down our playgrounds and off-leash dog parks. Day after day our political leaders seem to be falling over each other trying to think up new restrictions.
We’re told that these things have to be closed down because medical experts say so.
Well, show me the science that says a child on a swing is a dangerous spreader of disease. Show me a study that has found the owner’s of dogs to be such sociopaths that they can’t be trusted to practice social-distancing out-of-doors.
Just because a scientist says something, doesn’t mean they have said something scientific. Unfortunately, some of them are as confused about that as much of the public. This time though it is doctors making pseudo-scientific pronouncements that often aren’t founded on anything.
Jogging is being increasingly attacked. In Italy they’ve introduced restrictions on jogging and I suspect something similar is coming here soon. Joggers, apparently, can’t help running close to each other. Never mind that the most common jogger runs alone.
You know, at the start of all this they came up with the idea of social-distancing. Keep 6 feet or 2 metres away from each other, they said. Most people followed that advice, yet, instead of doing the scientific thing – waiting to see whether this was effective or not, they almost immediately started on other stuff, almost as fast as they could think it up – first it was closing sports events, then libraries, then restaurants, then ‘non-essential’ businesses, and now public parks.
Piece by piece we are dismantling civilization. Do we really know that we will be able to put it back together?
Where is the logic in all this? Why are they assuming that people in playgrounds, dog parks and those running in parks and streets won’t keep their distance from each other? Do they think that dog-owners, joggers and the parents of children are less intelligent than other people?
Throughout all this there has been a constant harang from our elected politicians and the supporting media claiming that the public is failing at social-distancing. Yet, from what I’ve seen, 90% of people are doing it well. It is difficult not to suspect that this is just an attempt by the authorities to divert attention from their own shameful lack of preparation for a pandemic that was inevitable.
And why is ‘staying home’ considered to be such a good idea? Everyone knows, or at least everyone used to know, that in late winter/early spring the air quality in homes and apartments is at its worst. You don’t have to be a scientist to know that.
When I complain about doctors though, I should say that there are still some level-headed medical minds at work.
For example, Dr David Katz, founding director of Yale University’s Yale-Griffin Preventive Research Center. He has criticized the crude ‘horizontal’ approach of closing everything possible down, arguing that a more targeted approach would be better. Why not, he says, concentrate funds and efforts on protecting those known to be vulnerable – seniors, the immune-compromised, etc – and let the rest lead relatively normal lives? Leave the economic system intact. I believe this is being done in the Netherlands.
Katz points out that a lot of working people live with their elderly parents. When workplaces are closed down, forcing them to remain in their homes full-time, those parents are more exposed to Covid 19. If you would like to read more about Katz, here is his website:
Do you want a prediction? When this is all over, decades from now, some historian is going to look back on these months and declare that the 2020 Covid 19 event was a classic example of social paranoia.
I like to think that there must be a psychologist or psychiatrist somewhere who is already warning us about that ancient and well-known mental disease, which has been at the root of so many wars and so much social breakdown, but so far I haven’t been able to find one.
PS – since I first wrote this – this morning – they have closed the entire park where I run, and often stop to watch the dogs playing with abandon in their compound. When I arrived there this afternoon, the park entrances were closed. Apparently resistant dog owners had had the effrontery to walk their dogs on park paths, though no one had said they shouldn’t.