Covid Mandates, Campus Culture, Our Society

September 2022

When I was younger, I was under the impression that great societal restructurings were driven from the top to bottom, decisions from the leaders down to the people. What has been happening in Canada, and globally, since March 2020 has indicated otherwise.

To this day, I am bewildered at the zeal of people supporting covid restrictions, wearing masks in places where it makes zero scientific sense to do so, supporting group thinking on covid narratives, and calling for censorship of any view not approved by the collective thinking.

I understand our society needs a change as the young people across universities are clearly indicating. There is a feeling of change, restructurings, new ways of thinking and new ways of life. One can certainly feel this call for change on campuses. This has been present for some time. Many of the causes are sound and logical, for instance, environmental issues, and the benefits of the forthcoming digital age.

From a contagious disease standpoint, we are currently living in developed times. We have developed vaccinations against deadly viral diseases. It has not been hundred years yet since the revolutionary discovery of penicillin by Sir Alexander Fleming that keeps in check bacterial infections. Resistant bacteria still pose a serious problem, though.

The “Covid pandemic” is not a pandemic our ancestors would recognize. Do we have a significant fraction of the young or healthy succumbing to the disease? No, we do not. If there was a way for the internet, TV or radio to be shut down, I would not even know that a pandemic was happening.

The tremendous success of modern medicine has allowed people to forget the existence of contagious diseases. All it took was the reminder of their existence and people became very afraid, borderline hysteric fear. When Dr. Deena Hinshaw (Chief Medical Officer of Health, Alberta) apologised (maybe she had to?) to the relatives of the patients that have died from contagious diseases, including other influenza strains, one has to ask the tough question, is this the new normal for official reaction to any contagious disease?

As a mathematician, I looked at excess data of mortality in Canadian provinces over the past twenty years. Clearly the more people we have, the more people will die. I have regressed annual deaths on annual population counts in a few provinces, where data are now available. In Ontario and Quebec over the past two “Covid” years, no significant change in mortality was recorded based on this regression.

Even though there are some relaxations of restrictions at this time, things in fact look very bleak. Recent developments in China over Covid zero policy are very troubling. The Canadian government’s stance can be viewed as a China-like approach, albeit a light version. Restrictions on travel and masking mandates seem to stay on indefinitely.

The campus environment feeds into this hysteria. Opposition to masking mandates and vaccine mandates is seen as unacceptable and non-progressive. When I walk the hallways of campuses, I get a sense of permanency of mask wearing, social distancing and changes in people’s behaviour. Rapid testing for social events of our faculty at my university, though now merely recommended, clearly indicates the problem.

Fortunately, our university has dropped the masking mandate, not because of our faculty or students, but to be aligned with the provincial (Alberta) stance. I would estimate about half of the students wear a mask and maybe even more faculty. Subtle, and sometimes less subtle, pressure to wear it is clearly there. On a few occasions I was approached by faculty members to cover up. In fact, faculty and students were pressuring the administration of the university to re-impose the mask mandates.

I got vaccinated (Astrazeneca), two inoculations, purely just to keep my employment, as my family relies on my income. Of course I had a choice, but if I chose “wrongly,” I lose my salary. Masking mandates are the most troublesome for me, as I am very sensitive to not having access to fresh air while I breathe, a condition I had since I was a child.

The thought of permanent masking orders truly scares me.