Foolish Questions

I remember years ago hearing a silly song that was written and recorded by Johnny Cash in 1984. Most of us can relate to the first two lines which are:

“Well now you’ve all been asked foolish questions and I think that you all know

That you’re bound to run into them most, most anywhere you go”

I highly recommend that you find the lyrics and even a recording as the song will put a smile on your face.

Throughout the years, I have also heard people say that there aren’t any stupid questions and that it is important to ask questions in order to learn. Think of how children ask things like “Why is the sky blue?” “Do babies come from eggs like ducks?” “When can I drive the car?” Each answer helps the child to understand the world and contributes to the knowledge base that will be used throughout their lives.

So, it is almost a year since the World Health Organization began locking down countries and I have certainly heard people ask a number of questions about our state of affairs. Thought I would share some of them with you:

  1. Why aren’t we calling this virus a syndemic rather than pandemic? states that the term “syndemic” was coined in 1990 by Merrill Singer. It suggests an aggregation of two or more concurrent clusters of disease which have biological interactions. A pandemic refers to one disease that travels throughout the world whereas the syndemic recognizes that certain areas and populations are more affected than others because of their living conditions. For example, we have been told that some individuals are more vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus including the aged and those who have other health problems. Syndemic therefore seems to be a more accurate term than pandemic.
  2. Who should we believe when we look to “science” for a solution? Every country has research facilities, pharmacological producers and experts in the field of disease, but seldom do they agree. In fact, we have received mixed messages from “science” in the last year. First, we were told to not wear a mask and given numerous reasons for this. More recently we have been told that we have to wear a mask and some people are actually double masking. Which scientific source has the best answer to protect and treat us?
  3. What ingredients are in the vaccine and will it be effective? Are there research documents that outline the clinical trials that were done? Many people have had their first injection and then were told that there aren’t enough supplies for the required injection? Now what? Are there negative reactions that might outweigh the positives? We have all heard news reports about individuals who have had bad experiences with medications in the past. Think about what happened with Thalidomide.
  4. What are the chances that I will die from COVID-19? The population of Canada in 2019 was 37.59 million. As of January 29, 2021, Health Canada has recorded 778,927 positive cases (about 2% of the population). Of those, 20032 have died which is about 2.5% of those who tested positive. So, in simple terms, out of 1875 Canadians, one would have died. Health Canada has also stated that 68.1% of cases and 79.8% of deaths in Ontario and Quebec.
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