Protect the health of ALL Nova Scotians. Keep CV-19 protections.
Protect the health of ALL Nova Scotians. Keep CV-19 protections.
Nova Scotians need strategy and policy design that is inclusive and responsive to our current reality, not policy that is based on an imagined ideal nor a nostalgic Covid-19 free past.
We are appealing to the Government of Nova Scotia to:
- keep existing Covid-19 tools and protections in place including mask mandates indoors, while also ensuring that masks with a protection level of N95 are readily available throughout the province; continue to focus on improving ventilation; reinstate daily case reporting etc. (Masks do not inhibit gathering limits, daily living, and there is no evidence that they have any negative effects on the economy.)
- not simply drop all Covid-19 protections while Covid-19 still poses a significant threat to the lives, well-being and livelihoods of thousands of Nova Scotians, most especially those with pre-exisiting conditions or the “high-risk”. The safety, economic well-being (including job security, workplace safety, the option to work from home etc.), physical and emotional well-being of Nova Scotians especially those who are high-risk, and just as importantly their family members, must be prioritized. Those who are high-risk cannot simply “learn to live with Covid”, they only have the task of not contracting Covid-19. Since public health measures are the jurisdiction of the provincial government and public health it is unreasonable to expect that high-risk individuals are able to simply protect themselves. Living with Covid-19 does not mean returning to pre-Covid times. It requires strong, researched backed inclusive strategy and policy and dedicated intelligent leadership.
- Use existing tools that have been built up over the last two years while developing strategies for “living with covid” that are equitable and based on the principles of inclusive public policy design.
IMMEDIATELY drop all ableist rhetoric and messaging, as well as any messaging that absolves government from dealing with the fact that we have all been living through a pandemic for the last two years and are still living through one. None of us like this fact but ignoring it is dangerous, and impedes innovative solutions for actually living with Covid-19. Messages like…:
“We know that more Nova Scotians will die, but we must move forward.”
“We must learn to live with Covid-19"
“People are done with the pandemic”
“We cannot live in fear”
say to the high-risk (and those close to them) that their lives, well-being, and livelihoods are not as valuable as others. These phrases are not strategy or policy for living with Covid-19. They are messages that put lives above other lives instead of promoting interdependence. We have all lived through, and are living through the trauma of a global pandemic blaming protections for the trauma caused (including the economic hardships) by the pandemic itself, is misleading and dangerous and doesn’t address the real issues. This is not to say that protections should not be evaluated and reconsidered and evolve, but doing away with them altogether without a serious plan for continuing to live in a pandemic is gross negligence on behalf of the Government of Nova Scotia, and governments everywhere. Covid-19 will become no less traumatizing with protections gone. Protections or no protections the pandemic is still here we cannot ignore that fact. Because of this we should be using all of the tools in our pandemic toolbox while also evolving new inclusive tools and policies.
We are still living through a pandemic with a rapidly changing and unpredictable virus that causes severe illness and death. Not all with long-term illness will end up in or stay in hospital.
Nova Scotia’s children are not fully vaccinated. According to the Chief medical officer of Saskatchewan a recent spike in emergency room visits by children with respiratory illness is likely due to Covid-19.
Nova Scotia has the largest percentages of people age 55+ compared to other provinces in Canada at around 30% of the population. We also top the charts in Cancer rates. According to statistics Canada 46.39% of Nova Scotians report living with underlying health conditions, much higher than the national average of 37.8%. It takes a quick tally of all of the preexisting conditions that can put one at risk for severe Covid to see that the “high-risk” are a significant proportion of our population; this doesn’t even include their family members, roommates and caretakers (many who are caretakers themselves) who must be protected in order to protect their loved ones, those they work with, live with, and/or care for.
Contrary to popular belief the majority of those with preexisting conditions, or who are considered high-risk do not lead secluded lives. They are children who go to school and daycare, they are our front line workers, education staff, medical staff, service industry staff, they are our hairdressers (my hairdresser is a transplant patient for example), some receive home care etc. Whether or not they live a secluded lifestyle they all need, and deserve the right to access to safe living and work environments, safe essential services, safe medical care etc.
Along with their families and loved ones thousands of Nova Scotians, and millions of Canadians with pre-existing conditions who have been more secluded than anyone over the last two years, whose lives have been undervalued throughout this pandemic, and who have made some of the most substantial sacrifices from the start are being pushed further and further into isolation, into dangerous life threatening situations, in poverty, and/or into making impossible decisions for their families, loved ones, and children.
Community is a cornerstone of Nova Scotian culture. As of the time of writing we have lost 94 Nova Scotians to Omicron in just a few short months. Even more have had their lives disrupted by severe covid and hospitalization, and an uncounted number, who may or may not have been hospitalized, will suffer the long-term effects of long-covid. Dropping of protections does not promote community, community wellness, nor does it promote community development. This is no time for encouraging transmission.
People cannot make informed decisions about their health, the health of their loved ones, those they work with and care for, and their communities if they do not have access to reliable reporting and data.
Encouraging transmission is not only detrimental to the health of Nova Scotians, and horrible for our communities, it will have more long lasting negative effects on both our individual and collective economic well-being as Covid-19 is our real enemy and we are not out of this pandemic yet.
(Note to Nova Scotians signing this petition. As the Government of Nova Scotia has yet to modernize to a formal online petition format we are asking signees to also reach our to their MLAs regarding these issues)