Letters July 31: Long-term care deaths; resuming classes; walking after midnight

Long-term care death rate worse in U.S.

Re: “We can’t allow a repeat of high death rates at care homes,” editorial, July 30.

The editorial focuses on COVID-19 deaths in long-term care as a percentage of all COVID deaths. By that measure, Canada had the highest proportion (81 per cent) among 17 OECD countries studied by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI).

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The editorial also notes that 72 per cent of COVID-19 deaths in B.C. have been in long-term care.

However, ranking jurisdictions by the per cent of COVID deaths in long-term care doesn’t really tell you how well the health-care system is performing since it doesn’t account for the overall rate of COVID deaths in a country.

To illustrate, take an extreme example of an imaginary country that has recorded just one death from COVID-19, but that death occurred in long-term care.

That country would therefore have 100 per cent of its COVID deaths in long-term care, and would be ranked as “worst” among all the countries.

To take a real example, in the United States it is estimated that, as of mid-July, 40 per cent of COVID deaths have been related to long term care.

By your reasoning, the U.S. has thus performed much “better” than Canada or B.C. However, that 40 per cent translates into 60,000 long term care deaths in the U.S., or 182 deaths per million people.

In B.C., 72 per cent of our total 194 COVID deaths translates into 140 deaths in long term care, or 27 deaths per million people — barely one-seventh of the U.S. rate.

Steven Murray
Victoria

Predicting the future as school classes resume

Dr. Bonnie Henry says “we cannot predict the future” in regard to sending school students back in September in the face of the pandemic.

Is she just clearly wrong, or is she looking for wiggle room when the inevitable happens?

In the case of COVID-19 and school, we can safely make predictions:

1. Some B.C. students of all ages will contract COVID-19.

2. Some B.C. teachers will contract the virus.

3. School “cohorts” will implode the family bubble at home created with such hard work over the summer.

4. Moms and dads will contract the virus from their children and be forced to quarantine.

5. Grandparent(s) will breathe in the virus from COVID-19 transmitting children and get sick. Some will die. Those grandchildren will have to live with the fact they had a hand in those deaths

6. Smart, but tragically sad, grandparents will not see their families for much longer than last March to June.

7. Having large groups of children congregating inside a school will have the same “spreading” result as large groups of people meeting at a bar, a houseboat, a funeral, or dining.

I could go on.

If Dr. Henry wanted to be entirely honest, she would add to her comment “this has not been an easy task” to decide to send children back to school and that “the transmitting of COVID-19 and the sickness and deaths that will occur is a price we’ve decided we are willing to pay for the education of our children.”

Just to be clear.

Hal Gray
Courtenay

Walking after midnight, and it’s not your concern

Re: “Street checks are a vital part of policing,” letters, July 29.

Nothing could have put the problem with policing in better form than the letter from the retired police officer, justifying his behaviour.

Just what does he think gives him the right to stop people on the road because he thinks it is untimely for them to be on the road.

If he sees someone doing something untoward or illegal, by all means question them. But other than that, it’s none of his business what I do on the road at 3 a.m.

This arrogant and bullying behaviour by police is exactly what gets people upset. I don’t want to de-fund the police but I would like to see a much more stringent and responsible selection process for appointing police officers.

Being a police officer is not an easy job and nobody expects them to be friendly at all times, but sometimes they should leave their arrogance at home.

We don’t need someone to bully us, we need guardians to protect us; and sometimes it seems, we need protection from our “protectors.”

Often, this culture of police forces of “it’s us against them” is wrong-headed and leads to exactly the situation we find ourselves in these days.

Ray Bindig
East Sooke

Police checks might be welcomed

Two recent letters illustrate the “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t” dilemmas facing our police forces every day.

A former police officer explains why it is good policy to check out people who are wandering the streets in the early hours, and another person said that this is quite normal behaviour.

(I think that he is one in several thousand who think that wandering the streets at 3 a.m. is “normal”!).

I can imagine the outcry from citizens if someone in distress — maybe a simple car breakdown, a medical emergency or a serious violent household altercation — was ignored by a police cruiser that just coasted by without checking if there was a problem.

Me? I would be grateful that they stopped and checked.

Bryan Holmes
North Saanich

Alberta plates? Not really a problem

My wife and I recently returned from our staycation, travelling from Victoria to Vancouver, Nelson, Revelstoke, Kamloops, Cache Creek and Whistler.

By chance, our rental car had Alberta plates. We received the warmest of welcomes wherever we went.

We would like to encourage our prairie neighbours to come to and enjoy Beautiful B.C.

Ken Roueche
Victoria

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