COVID19 infections are growing more severe each day. What were hundreds of new infections have become thousands, what were thousands of people infected are becoming tens of thousands. Voluntary measures to curb the virus from spreading are not being heeded. Draconian mandatory measures have become necessary. Government leaders have been trying to avoid this, and I get it, but too many people are ignoring necessary public health practices put in place. Some people are construing important public health measures as violations of their rights. Bizarre I know, but it’s happening. Restrictions on the right of assembly and mobility are prompting some people to fear we are becoming a police state—conjuring up images of the gestapo or the stasi. Those prone to imagining conspiracies think it’s all a globalist plot. Wingnuts!
We’ve moved in to a second wave of COVID19 and the daily infection rate is worse than the first wave. Desperate times call for desperate measures! It's time to institute severe fines for those people who refuse or neglect required health measures that are intended to stop the spread of COVID. If mandatory lockdown is required, declare it and enforce it. Mandatory compliance of public health care policy to combat coronavirus are only temporary. They will be lifted when an effective vaccine is available. (Then we’ll have a problem with the anti-vaxxers!) But if tough enforcement of public health measures is required I call on government to do it. Let the opponents, conspiracy theorists and anti vaxxers howl. Protection of the population takes priority.
This is not the first time in history the world has faced a pandemic. For example, the bubonic plague of 1663-1665. The city of London faced many of the same things we have experienced since March 2020: normal bustling city streets were empty. Businesses shut their doors, people defied municipal directive of quarantine.
By June of 1665, the mayor and council issued orders under the title: ORDERS CONCEIVED AND PUBLISHED BY THE LORD MAYOR AND ALDERMEN OF THE CITY OF LONDON CONCERNING THE INFECTION OF THE PLAGUE, 1665.
They were not playing around. The orders were compulsory. People who did not obey them were jailed or faced heavy fines, or both! The ordinance gave sweeping powers to justices of the peace, bailiffs, examiners, searchers and others to enforce the order. In its preamble the order stated, “It is now, upon special consideration, thought very expedient for preventing and avoiding infection of sickness (if it shall so please Almighty God) that these officers following be appointed and these orders hereafter duly observed.” Examiners and other appointed authorities for local areas were appointed by aldermen. Those who refused were jailed. Examiners and “searchers” were required to find and identify infected houses which were then padlocked and guards placed at the doors twenty-four hours a day. People who refused to serve as guards faced severe punishments. And to make matters worse for the folks appointed to positions where they might inadvertently come into contact with the plague could not enter or keep public places of business or take any other employment. Violators were imprisoned. Anyone who entered an infected house, such as a nurse, had to isolate themselves for twenty-eight days. Occupants of an infected house had to sequester themselves for a month after the last infection, under threat of imprisonment. The City of London had to take tough measures, but desperate times sometimes call for desperate measures.
Canada finds itself in a desperate time with rapidly rising COVID infections, hospitalizations and deaths. Enough people are defying or neglecting voluntary public health measures that mandatory public health requirements need to be instituted. Violators must face severe consequences—be it heavy fines or jail. Further, I think provincial premiers must use emergency measures within their power to enforce consistent public health measures across the country so there’s no confusion. Too many vulnerable people are a risk and too many have died. Lockdown fatigue be hanged! We need to get infection rates under control. Things may get much worse before they get better. That is the bad news. The good news is that a vaccine is within sight; we are being told that one will be available in early 2021, if not earlier.
Let the tiny cadrés of anti-vaxxers and conspiracy wingnuts howl foul. The human rights they believe are being taken from them will be returned as soon as this pandemic is over. The good of the majority must be protected.