COVID-19 Pandemic: Let’s Fasten Our Seat Belts!


Michelle Neill, Leadership Candidate

The COVID-19 pandemic, with all its variants, has been the most prolonged and socially disruptive event for most of us in our lifetime.  With 30,000 plus Canadian lives gone, many jobs lost, businesses suffering or foreclosed, and family or social networks upended, our parents or grandparents could only equate, or supersede the pandemic’s impact by relating the polio scare of the 1950’s or World War II.

But if the King government follows sound scientific advice, and we work together, we’ll beat COVID-19.

Occasionally I fly to Ottawa on business, or for pleasure.  The two-hour flight is much more convenient, and even safer, than taking a 12-hour car drive to the same destination.  I know nothing about piloting an airplane, the responsibilities of air traffic controllers, the flight attendants’ training, or the jobs of mechanics and runway personnel who make the plane fly. 

I see no benefit in arguing flight paths with my fellow passengers, or calling the air traffic controller to protest take off time delays.  I place my trust in the pilot and flight attendants, and fasten my seat belt, when instructed, to best ensure the safety of myself and all on board.  I do the same in my own vehicle, to best ensure my safety in case of an unexpected accident.

The unprecedented scope and magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic is beyond the understanding of most of us.  We must rely on the knowledge and experience of virologists to decipher the origin, mode of transmission, contagiousness, and virulence of this infectious agent.  We must also depend on our physicians and Chief Health Officer to interpret the complex data associated with the virus, and provide us with the best advice to protect our health and lives.

As the course of the pandemic unfolds, more is learned through scientific studies with updated information and variants calling for revisions to protocols that may seem confusing or contradictory.  Unfortunately, some players have seized advantage of changing guidelines and unknown factors to project conspiracy theories, and spread misinformation for profit or political gain, even at the expense of threatening the lives of fellow citizens, often in a backdrop of racist or hateful expressions. This behaviour is very unsettling and causes anxiety and confusion for many, which is not helpful to anyone.

We are grateful to the many Islanders who are seeing us through the COVID-19 pandemic, often risking their own health.  These include the dedicated health personnel for their perseverance, as well as the teachers, truckers, store clerks, and all others, even neighbours who are reaching out a helping hand.

We still have a way to go before the COVID-19 virus is gone, but if the King government’s COVID protocol policy adheres to the best scientific and caring advice from our Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Heather Morrison, rather than the pressure of social agitators, and we fasten our seat belts for the ride, we will get through this pandemic, while preserving the health and safety of ourselves and our loved ones.

Michelle Neill, Leadership Candidate
Island New Democrats.

michelle.neill@ndp.ca

Michelle Neill

Michelle Neill

Michelle comes from an almost 30 year career in the federal public service. She’s held various roles including team leader and assistant manager. Shortly after starting her career, she quickly involved herself in her union as a local representative.

Locally, she involves herself in community organizations including Wings on Ice Skating Club, the Charlottetown Figure Skating Club, North Star Minor Hockey Association, Skate PEI, and Hockey PEI, and most recently with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Central PEI.

She calls herself very fortunate to have an extremely supportive family, where her husband of 29 years, Robbie, and children, Keila (pronounced Kayla) and Taylor, have always supported her passion to help others even though it often meant time away from the family to gain specialized training.

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