As leader of the Green Party of Quebec I would like to encourage everyone to follow the directions laid out by public health authorities and governments and to explain why they are important. While my job is usually to criticize the government, in this case I fully support the actions taken by the Legault and Trudeau governments and urge them to do even more.
The Coronavirus is serious and the consequences should not be underestimated. As the number of cases increases, our healthcare system will quickly be overwhelmed. Our system can only offer adequate treatment to a given number of people at a time. This is why it is so important to slow the spread of the virus; so that we can avoid maxing out the healthcare system’s treatment capacity.
An overwhelmed healthcare system during a pandemic will lead to unnecessary deaths and unnecessary suffering. Healthcare professionals will have to prioritize which patients receive treatment resources such as respirators and which are left without.
The Collaboration of Young People Is Key
As young people, many of us feel that this virus will not affect us, that we are not at risk, that it is just a flu and that we have nothing to worry about. This is not the case. Here is why:
Young People Can Fall Ill
Young people can in fact fall ill from the corona virus. Although the death rate is lower for young people, we can get sick and require hospital care. If you think about it, as a young person, if you end up in the hospital at a time when many elderly people are also sick and the system is operating beyond its capacity, the medical staff could choose to prioritize your care over the elderly since you have more years ahead of you. However, the resources directed towards you (such as a respirator) will likely mean that an older person is left without the care that they need.
This could result in unnecessary death of an older person due to a lack of resources. We are not nearing that point yet, but the situation is evolving rapidly and we need to prepare for the worst and take precautions. Being aware of the limits of our healthcare system is important. If we were not applying precautionary measures, we would be closer to reaching the limits of the system.
Young People Can Transmit the Virus Without Showing Symptoms:
As young people we can transmit the virus without showing symptoms and without knowing it. Propagating the virus and speeding up its progression could also lead to unnecessary and avoidable deaths. This is another reason why it is so important to follow the government recommendations to avoid contact and to take precautions.
The message I am trying to get across, particularly to young people is that although we may be at lower risk than the older folks, our actions, carelessness, and unwillingness to follow precautions could result in the deaths of older people including our parents and grandparents. Going out with friends who are not showing symptoms could lead to unnecessary and avoidable deaths of older or more venerable people.
Solidarity Is Important
In this time of crisis solidarity is important. We do not know how long all this will last but it will likely be much longer than 2 weeks. During this time we will need to help members of our communities in any way possible. This means following precautions, checking in on one another, staying in touch over the phone and through video chat and providing assistance delivering groceries and other necessities.
Although there are a lot of negative things about this virus, it is the first time in my lifetime that all of humanity is confronted with such a challenge. Things that seamed so important just last week have been put into context with this global effort to fight this virus. My hope is that humanity will come out of this crisis stronger and more united than ever. Hopefully this will lead to more understanding, compassion and shared sense of responsibility to protect public health, the environment and future generations.
If you have questions about the virus, feel sick or are showing symptoms please call Quebec’s official hotline: 1-877-644-4545 If you are feeling anxious or depressed about the situation do not hesitate to reach out to me. The Green Party of Quebec office is closed until further notice and we are working from home with lots of time on our hands.
Leader of the Green Party of Quebec