Letters to The Sun, Sept. 29, 2020: Schools have never been safer

There will be cases in schools. However, the measures taken are as good as can be done with the schools that we have, writes John Blatherwick.

CP-Web. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates how the provincial election will be held during the COVID-19 pandemic during a press conference at the B.C. legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, September 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito ORG XMIT: CAH617

Schools have never been safer. Why? Because the schools have been set up to prevent the spread of disease. The measures taken work not only for COVID-19, but also for influenza and a multitude of bacteria and viruses.

In normal years, when students return from holidays, they bring bugs from all over the planet back to the classroom — but not this year. The media makes it sound like every parent is alarmed over the measures taken in the school system but the majority of students returned to the classroom. Why? Because schools have never been safer.

There will be cases in schools. However, the measures taken are as good as can be done with the schools that we have. Some parents say, “Hire more teachers.” The simple answer is there are no more teachers available to hire.

Education is one of the major determinants of health, getting children back to school is a high priority for public health. But the germ pool normally brought to school isn’t back. Schools have never been safer.

Do we know everything? Should we, the public, be running the government ourselves?

Well, we are if we can only learn to trust good leaders like Horgan.   

Bill Jones, South Surrey

Taxing the rich

Alex Hemingway of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives seems to have a rather simplistic notion of what “taxing the rich” means and how it could work.

Though the wealth of the top one per cent continues to balloon by the billions-of-dollars, even during this pandemic, that is mostly gains on paper and assets that aren’t taxable as such. Even when gains are realized, corporations have ways of writing off losses, such as by acquiring companies that are in the red.

In reality, taxing the rich would mean raising taxes on higher-income households, for example, those making over $150,000 a year. Far from the richest one per cent Hemingway would like to target. And also likely to be a lot less politically popular.

So, all in all, easier said than done.

Charles Leduc, Vancouver

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John Blatherwick, retired chief medical officer, Vancouver Coastal Health

Reduce public gatherings

The number of new COVID-19 cases each day in B.C. now exceeds 100. This is more that at any time and exceeds what was experienced during the worst of the first wave of the virus.

Public heath officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has been very critical of people participating in large social gatherings. She has made it clear that this is the primary cause of the spread of the virus.

Given all this, why hasn’t she used her emergency powers to reduce the allowable size of social gatherings from 50 back to six, and why hasn’t she closed all restaurants, pubs and lounges?

Garth M. Evans, Vancouver

Another self-serving politician

I never voted for the NDP. And then along comes an NDP government, although of minority status, which has done a pretty remarkable job considering all of the current adversities. 

John Horgan, at the helm, comes across like a decent human being: friendly, often smiling and seemingly very approachable. I thought I wouldn’t mind to have him as my neighbour.

Alas, his calling of a provincial election in the middle of a pandemic, and while riding high in popularity, has exposed him to be just another self-serving politician.

Peter Zirpke, West Vancouver

Trust good leaders

So typical of how we form and lose relationships. We have a friend for years and they mess up just once and we never speak to them again.

John Horgan and his government have done a great job. Are you going to vote for someone else simply because you’re mad at him for not doing what you think he should do? What happened to good, old trust in our leaders?

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