Thursday, November 24, 2022

A Tale Of Two Realities

This is the story of two 'realities'; one is grounded in the ugly facts of a respiratory illness, RSV, in children; the other, essentially an anti-reality, revolves around shortsighted, reactionary hysteria that does nothing to serve the public good.

First, a tale of a medical emergency involving RSV.

When Weronika Drab’s seven-week-old baby — an otherwise healthy boy with a thick head of dark curls — stopped showing interest in breastfeeding and began flaring his nostrils while catching his breath, she knew “something wasn’t right.” What ensued was a harrowing battle against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), waged over seven days in the local hospital’s pediatric unit.

The portrait of those suffering severe symptoms of this illness is graphic and heartbreaking. Doctor Ronik Kanani, head of pediatrics art North York General Hospital, describes some of those symptoms:

Quick, rapid breaths, wheezing and using extra muscles to breathe are signs infants or young children are having a hard time breathing, Kanani says, noting RSV can also cause pneumonia.

“You might see their belly moving up and down to help them breathe. You might see muscles sucking in between their ribs to help them breathe. There’s so much mucus and inflammation in their lungs they need to use these extra muscles to get a breath.”

Weronika Drab's baby had such symptoms, so she rushed little Ayden to emergency. 

 Drab recalls the first night in the emergency department as “one of the most terrifying of my life” as she watched her son’s oxygen levels plummet on a nearby monitor and a crowd of nurses caring for Ayden.

She said she remembers one nurse supporting Ayden’s head, while another suctioned sticky mucus from his throat and upper airways.

“I couldn’t do anything,” she says. “He was crying — I’ve never heard him cry like that before — and you could tell he was scared; he was so scared.” 

Ayden spent seven days in the hospital’s pediatric unit. He received IV fluids to keep him hydrated and oxygen support through special nasal prongs in his nose. Nurses would often suction out the sticky mucus that caused him to cough and choke and struggle to breathe.

The story goes on, but I think the picture is clear - respiratory ailments in youngsters can be life-threatening and nothing to be dismissive about. 

And yet dismissive is one of the milder words one could use to describe a faction of people attending a school board meeting in Ottawa, where mandatory masking in schools was to be discussed. First, a couple of brief videos capture the madness of 'freedom-fighters' in attendance:

And here is another, showing these 'freedom fighters' in their full faux patriotism, a patriotism that would willingly endanger the lives of the vulnerable:

New trustee Dr. Nili Kaplan-Myrth introduced the motion Tuesday for masks to be required during all activities except for music and other performing arts or sports where they can't be worn, as well as during lunch or snack breaks.

As you can see from the above videos, it did not go well, to the point police had to escort several people out of the building, and the meeting continued only after removing the public and a CBC reporter. 

In response, Kaplan-Myrth posted on Twitter Tuesday night that she's "disgusted that anti-maskers' tactics prevailed."

"They chanted like an angry mob," she continued. "To those who think that your disrespectful conduct is a 'win,' Ottawa children who get sick are your victims."

And what is the rationale for those so adamantly opposed to masking? Of course, the usual suspects were in attendance with their chants of freedom, etc. But there were also parents there who believe their children should not be restricted in any way:

Salma Al-Shehabi, a mother who presented her perspective virtually with her son by her side, requested trustees refrain from implementing mandate masks, citing the importance of children's ability to communicate freely.

She suggested a solution for parents and children concerned about rising respiratory illnesses in the community would be to turn to online learning.

Al-Shehabi said masking "was a personal choice," citing the Ontario Health Ministry's stance. She also noted Moore appeared maskless at an event last week — only days after he "strongly" recommended masks in indoor public settings.

Blake Maguire, a father of four, explained in person how masking has affected his kids. 

"I've noticed anxiety, I noticed depression, my A-student became a C-student," said Maguire, getting emotional. "They're not good for kids right now."

It appears there was at least one rational parent in atendance:

Carolyn Moffatt, a mother of four students, made a virtual presentation in favour of the mask mandate.

Moffatt, who said she was once a midwife with neonatal ICUs and a policy adviser who worked with influenza guidelines, pointed to the current strain on Ontario's children's hospitals due to a surge of respiratory illnesses.

"Do now what you did then. Help our community now," she pleaded with trustees, asking them to repeat their vote to mandate masks in April amid a sixth wave of COVID-19.

So there we have it: a clear and present danger to young children, met with a rabid resistance by misinformed malcontents and misguided parents. 

Oh, Canada indeed. 





  1. .. As you’re an Educator.. whether retired on not.. I presume you ‘participated’ in a few Parent/Teacher moments ‘that gave you pause’. Parents that.. perhaps you found somewhat ‘unsettling’ to actually meet.. perhaps even concerning. Might that be 1 in 25 ? 1 in 100 ? 1 in 500 ?

    What if those outliers came with a camera crew & lights and Media had been notified in advance ? And the Minister of Education ? & his or her retinue ?

    This is the ‘potential context’ or ‘setting’ for Educators as well as Healthcare Professionals today. The risk of being ‘Doxed’ by the ignorant and/or Partisan Or reckless MainMedia & being continually attacked for simply reflecting & applying Contemporary ‘Best Practices’ via Social Media

    Tell me.. that’s a ‘healthy environment’ or inspiration for anyone !

    1. Your reference to parent-teacher interviews brought back some memories, Anon, not all of which are pleasant. Thankfully, however, the vast majority of parents were reasonable; those who weren't I had little patience with.

      Today, of course, things must be much worse, and you are quite right about the power of social media to exploit situations, as we see in the videos above. My own point of view is that we should never, ever let what I call "the rabble" prevail, no matter the consequences. The fact that the Ottawa meeting finished without a decision was not, in my view, a good outcome.

  2. Oh, Canada indeed.

    And sung horribly.

    There are some tone deaf fruitcakes with no sense of social responsibility out out there.

  3. There’s a lesson to be learned if we see it as that..
    ‘guerrilla reality advisors’ Iook for such lessons or case studies. The ‘minority can rule the day’ even ‘dictate to the many’

    I had no idea that Vaccines, Masks, Physical Spacing, Schools, Filtration, Testing, Ventilation, Sanitary Measures re Covid Infection could become such weaponized battlegrounds.. Individually & collectively as Tactical Best Practices during a Global Pandemic

    We now have multiple Provincial Premiers (Public Servants) and a wannabe Prime Minister.. essentially advocating AGAINST some or all of these Best Practices

    1. The entire pandemic and its associated ills have been a real eye-opener for me as well, Sal. As you call it, the weaponization of best practices is not something I could have ever imagined happening. I remain baffled by this rebellion against sanity and reason.

  4. We both suffer.. From reading ‘The Premonition - A Covid Story’ by Michael Lewis .. My views on the Mormon ‘religion’ similarly are forever altered via ‘Under The Banner Of Heaven’ .. same re University Sexual Assault & The Law - ‘Missoula’ via Jon Krakauer

    1. I was certainly enlightened by The Premonition, Sal. Sadly, the same courage and integrity by the few seems conspicuously absent in our country. Haven't read Under the Banner of Heaven. I have heard the title; I shall seek it out.

  5. I heard the doctor on there radio. She sounded totally unhinged. If wearing masks is actually that crucial, why should they be taken off for music classes, or at recess, or during meals? Either they are necessary or they aren't. Obviously you have to remove the mask to eat or drink, but then that is the point when children will be infected (if you believe masks will actually help). The behaviour of both sides is deplorable.

    1. While masking is far from perfect, it is one of the things that in fact slows the spread of the virus, Anon. You point about having to remove the masks to eat, play a musical instrument, etc., is valid, but wearing them in the majority of situations will still provide some protection, both against acquiring the virus and infecting others.

      On a personal note, we have not eaten in a restaurant since the start of the pandemic (only outside on a patio) for precisely the reason you cite, having to remove the mask to eat.