Editorials - Nov. 18, 2021
Weighing the statistics
While any uptick in cases during a worldwide pandemic is worth monitoring, sometimes it’s also important to keep a little perspective.
After more than 20 months of shifting rules to deal with the COVID-19 virus and its variants and the inoculation of just over 85 per cent of those eligible in Canada, headlines shouting the beginning of a fifth wave here in Ontario are deflating to say the least. However, even though the province is experiencing a slight increase in its caseload compared to the week before and breakthrough cases are being reported more frequently, the situation is not nearly as dire as what we were experiencing at this time last year.
In November of 2020, cases were increasing at an exponential rate as outdoor activities and meetings were being moved indoors with very strict rules and capacity limits. Our seven-day average new case rate was 1,216 on Nov. 11, 2020. On Nov. 11, 2021 that same indicator was sitting at 532, and while it is increasing, it is not nearly on the same trajectory as last year, before the vaccines were rolled out. A year ago, hospitalizations were double what they are currently (402 on Nov. 11, 2020, 215 last Thursday). Most encouraging is that the number of deaths has dropped dramatically (the seven-day average daily death rate one year ago was 14, and sitting at 3.6 last week).
Vaccines are working, despite alarmist headlines from many news outlets (mainstream or otherwise). Hopefully, vaccine passports and mask mandates carry us the rest of the way through without more lockdowns. – DS
A strong foundation
Last week, The Citizen spoke with three-term Huron-Bruce MPP and Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Lisa Thompson about the impact 4-H had on her life and her career. It is no secret that Thompson has looked back fondly on her time in 4-H and its impact on her both then and now. Stories like Thompson’s show the importance of youth programming and the volunteers who make it happen.
For Thompson, it was 4-H. In the interview, she said that showing animals and being a 4-H member was just what the Thompson family did. For others, it’s youth sports like baseball, soccer, broomball or hockey. Those who aren’t athletically inclined may gravitate to groups like the Scouts or Guides, while many find community and knowledge in their local church and associated programs like Sunday school or youth groups. These experiences could easily be swept aside as a right of passage for young people, but they’re clearly much more than that.
Like Thompson, many successful people will often reach far back into their memories and name youth sports or youth organizations as formative experiences for them and where they ended up in life. And, like Thompson again, most will name specific volunteers who gave of their time and inspired the leaders of tomorrow. The people who take the time to coach hockey, lead 4-H clubs or Scouts and Guides and teach music to hungry young minds are the heroes of our communities.
It’s easy to dismiss youth programming as a simple part of growing up, but in reality it plays a far more pivotal role. These programs need to be nurtured and supported and those who volunteer their time to keep them successful should be celebrated. – SL
Doing the right thing
Earlier this month, Morris-Turnberry Council, after receiving significant feedback from ratepayers in support of the Brussels, Morris and Grey Community Centre renovations, decided to support the proposed project to the tune of $469,000 for its portion.
While that’s a lot of tax dollars, even spread over five years, council made the right decision to continue to support not only the community centre, but all of the municipality’s residents who use it and the community groups that rely on it. It was the right thing to do and each council member should be proud of the part they’re playing in preserving something so important.
How can that be said so definitively? Well just look down the road at Central Huron. It’s been 10 years since the ribbon was cut on the new community centre in Clinton and, even after a decade, the “new” arena is still a fantastic addition to both the community and the county. While the centre in Brussels won’t be new, it will be like new and able to host some of the events that have migrated away from it, better providing the community with a gathering space and hockey rink.
Due diligence is necessary when councils make these kinds of large funding decisions. However, the right decision will always be supporting the community and ratepayers in ways that have proven to strengthen the communities in years gone by.
So congratulations to Morris-Turnberry Council on realizing the importance of the community centre, the value of the renovations and the need to continually invest in facilities that are of key importance to both the communities that host them and those around them. – JDS