, 11.26.2021 04:57 PM

My latest: is it March 2020 all over again?

Remember March 11, 2020?

Of course you do. It was the day the world changed.

It started, as world-endings perhaps do, in unexpected ways. Everyone has their own “where were you” story, like when famous people die suddenly.

This writer was on his couch in Toronto, watching something forgettable on TV, when the unforgettable news blinked onto an iPhone. Tom Hanks and his wife, filming in Australia, announced they had COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Minutes later, a statement from the National Basketball Association appeared. The basketball season was being suspended “until further notice.” A player with the Utah Jazz had it, too.

Truth be told, I wasn’t totally shocked. In my communications class at the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Law, we had been tracking the coronavirus for weeks, because we were convinced it was going to get worse.

And now it was, dramatically so. I didn’t ever expect the Heralds of Doom would be a Hollywood actor and some basketball players, but perhaps that was needed to communicate that it was real. It was really, really happening.

Observers of the government of Justin Trudeau could be forgiven for thinking it wasn’t, however. In the terrifying days that followed, Trudeau’s witless minister of health told Canadians not to wear masks. She said the risk of getting sick was “low.”

And anyone who politely suggested that we should consider closing borders was called a racist by the Trudeau cabal. Subsequently, their acquisition of vaccines became a fiasco, and Canada would lag far behind the Americans and Europeans.

Well, that was March 11, 2020 and the days thereafter. That was the start of this, the COVID Plague. More than five million people have been killed by it; many millions more made seriously ill, some permanently. Economies crushed, businesses decimated, lives upended.

And now — perhaps, maybe — it is starting to feel a bit like March 11, 2020 all over again.

The Heralds of Doom, this time, weren’t actors and basketball players. It was, properly, governments. Within hours early on Friday, they started closing their borders to travellers from African countries. Markets fell, prices rose.

And we all started watching our phones more closely, asking ourselves: is it here already? Federal health officials don’t know.

The new variant initially bore the bland, antiseptic name B.1.1.529 — but was dubbed Omicron by the World Health Organization on Friday.

All of the previous coronavirus mutations were diabolical — slithering, like snakes, around public health measures and personal immunities.

Omicron, first detected in densely-populated South Africa, is incalculably worse, in two critical ways.

Firstly, it is five times more effective at infecting humans than the very worst of the variants.

Secondly — and this the menacing March 11, 2020 fact — it may be powerful enough to defeat the vaccines most of us have in our bodies. As in, we may be just as vulnerable to sickness and death as we were on March 11, 2020.

The good news, of course, is that we know that masks generally work as well as vaccines. Social distancing and regular handwashing help a great deal, as well. So does closing borders to countries with outbreaks — something now happening within hours, not weeks and months.

Also good news: the new federal Minister of Health, Jean Yves Duclos, has already revealed himself to be far more coherent and capable than his bumbling predecessor.

On Friday afternoon, after Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole demanded immediate action.

Duclos announced multiple restrictions on travel to or from seven different African nations. Anyone who has recently been in one of those countries must immediately enter quarantine and get tested, Duclos declared.

So far, so good. Much is at stake: lives, economies, futures. Will Trudeau and his regime do better, this time?

Because, this time may be March 11, 2020 all over again.

— Warren Kinsella was Chief of Staff to a federal Liberal Minister of Health


  1. Ted Hamill says:

    My view is that yes, the Liberal government made mistakes, almost every country in the world did, it was a totally novel situation, with few playbooks. However, seeing that the Conservative party is full of anti-vaxxers, climate change deniers and even initially pandemic deniers, things would have been much worse if they were the government.

    • Pedant says:

      So you agree it was wrong for the Liberals to shriek “racism” at calls to close the border to travellers from Covid hot spots?

      Do you think that in the future it would be best for Liberals not to shriek racism at every idea they dislike? When a word like that loses all meaning, people simply roll their eyes.

  2. Fred J Pertanson says:

    Selecting Greek letters, the WHO should have picked the next one after Nu, which is Xi. I wonder why they skipped over that?

  3. Ronald O'Dowd says:


    Yup, the first shoe is communicability and its origin. Is it solely through mutation or…?

    And the second shoe: morbidity rates. We’ll know the answer to that one soon enough. I wish my past predictions had been full of shit.

  4. Bill Malcolm says:

    Was watching the Commons yesterday, and had a few snorts of derision when the Cons, of all people, got all upset about the omicron variant. Guess I’d be worried too, if I was unvaccinated with some spurious medical or religious exemption to sit around the chamber and fulminate uselessly. The people who think Covid’s only a bad cold and hell, only kills a few people here and there anyways, of course performed the standard panic “the sky is falling” routine for a spot of political theatre, not because they really care about citizenry.

    And of course, the world went nuts too. As Dr Isaac Bogoche said on TV last night, while disputing the usual mendacious horse manure and panic, we really don’t know much about the omicron variant, and it’s spread already worldwide with only tenuous connection to RSA, so closing borders will be as effective as it has been in the past. Utterly useless. But he hardly seemed panicked at all, and uttered his usual words of wisdom which always make sense to me, much like Dr Strang does here in Nova Scotia. When I need Doug Ford’s or Legault’s opinion, I’ll rattle their cages. Their medical expertise is about as useful as that of the late Wyerton Willie’s was on weather prediction.

    But I also know there are huge numbers of undiscovered medical geniuses lurking in basements across this fair land bloviating on social media, forums and blogposts. And those posing as “people’s” politicians with all the intellectual capacity such a career requires, also proffer “medical advice” or just sit on their hands and let ‘er rip like on the prairies. So why listen to the damn real epidemiological doctors when Uncle Fred down the street knows more than those trained dopes? Let’s all just act insane instead and tell each other off all over again based on the knowledge vacuum suspended between our ears.

    A state of lunacy exists worldwide as the super rich oligarchal plutocracy begins to realize that the old normal of milking the peasantry for profits while they themselves sit on their butts may well be coming to an end. The gravy train the sociopath superclass demands may be over. A waterlogged BC sinking into the Pacific is the latest canary in the coalmine for the end of the world as we knew it, not some coronavirus variant. The only real geniuses in the Covid vaccine “world”, the husband and wife team who run BioNTech in Germany and who licensed Pfizer to make their vaccine, say that they need only 100 days to reformulate their vaccine and start to produce it, if circumstances warrant.

    Meanwhile, in this country, perhaps giving some thought as to how to replace the 90 square kilometres of ruined Sumas prairie in Abbotsford that feeds most of BC should be the nation’s number one priority. Unless we prefer starving. Next summer, after wildfires and more prairie drought, perhaps people will wake up. Nah, that would be too much to hope for.

  5. Jeff says:

    It’s what happens when you drain a lake to make a prairie…mother nature always wins!

  6. - says:

    Corona virus is a god damned blessing, how else would anyone have ever learned how truly fucking virtuous O’Dowd and Kinsella are

    • Ronald O'Dowd says:


      For my part, I’m a lot of things but certainly not virtuous. I despise virtue signaling or overly politically correct behavior. I’m more live and let live than anything else. But in truth, I’ll gladly go to war with the unvaccinated because they have absolutely no right to infect or kill me or anyone else. Period, exclamation point.

      As for Warren, he’s proven to be a far better person than I could ever hope to be. Like I said before, he ultimately learned the most precious of lessons well and will pass those along to his own children. What an incredible legacy to leave on this Earth. The Kinsellas continue to make this world better than the way they found it. And they don’t sell out for anything or anyone.

    • Robert White says:

      Kinsella is a heavy weight, ‘says’. You don’t even have the guts to face him with a real name let alone virtuous behaviour.

      If you want to be a fighter learn to be a man first.


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