Cold Comfort for Rotation workers and “privileged” campers.
Yesterday’s briefing was largely uneventful, as most Wednesday briefings are. Premier Rankin off-handedly mentioned that his team would begin working on a re-opening plan for the province but he doesn’t yet know what that will look like. He has also extended the current restrictions until June 9, which is longer than the current renewal of the state of emergency.
When questioned about the rotational workers being denied entry at the border he simply stated that they are working on the problem and hope to streamline the process. I’m sure this will be comforting to all the rotation workers who are still being returned at the border.
Rankin also added clarity to the grant money promised to daycare operators. He says it was only to cover cost and not profit and some of that money has already been dispersed.
In regard to case numbers, Strang had a lot to say about the amount in Sydney. He believes there is now community spread since there are cases that can’t be identified through contact tracing. Most cases are now in the 20-30 year-old age bracket and he believes this is proof that the variants are more dangerous. However, Dr Strang has used an age-based roll out of the vaccines and this particular age group has not yet been vaccinated. Out of the 83 new cases announced today, 64 were in people 39 or younger. As of the date of the briefing vaccines had only been offered to those 30 and over, and everyone 31-39 has only had access since Friday the 14th of May. Seeing as the vaccines take two weeks to become effective, this distribution in the case count is exactly what one would expect to see. Strang did acknowledge that there have been break through cases reported in those that have been vaccinated. He says this is mostly within the two week germination period and simply means they were exposed before or right after receiving the vaccine. He also said this number will rise as more people are vaccinated because it is a normal occurrence. I do remember being told once that “more testing = more cases” is a flawed logic. I’m not sure how this is any different. For some interesting stats and graphs on both the Federal and all Provincial levels, you can go here.
There was one point however where Dr Strang was noticeably agitated with a question from those he called “the privileged few”. Upon announcing that short-term camping was closed for the summer, seasonal campers had some questions. If they owned a seasonal home but it was in a different county could they cross county lines for that without fear of a fine? This is a reasonable question seeing as they pay taxes and mortgage on that second home, or they have made an investment in a camper and pay fees to campgrounds to be able to use them. But to Strang this was unacceptable.
“I think people should recognize that if they actually have a cottage or a second place to go, they are extremely privileged. There are many people that are struggling to maintain their home or losing their jobs right now. So if you have a second home, choose one of your homes and make that their permanent residence for the next few months, do not go back and forth. That’s not very much to ask when many people are struggling for a lot more. We have people struggling for their lives in hospital, so choose one place and stay there. I may sound frustrated but I am. That is an extremely privileged position to be in and recognize that privilege “. This is not the full quote, but the rest wasn’t any better.
So there you have it: the variants are dangerous because they’re mainly showing up in the unvaccinated, there is no re-opening plan yet, and if you own two homes you may only access one of them.
As of publishing this article, vaccination has opened up to 25-29 year-olds.