Today’s commute was what you would expect in the middle of a blizzard to mark the first day of February.
Even though my white-knuckle drive came a day before Groundhog Day, I had the same sense of being stuck on repeat that Bill Murray’s character faced in the 1993 blockbuster film.
It snows. We finally get the roads cleared. And then it snows all over again.
Perhaps I wouldn’t have minded this latest winter storm as much if we weren’t also trapped in the COVID time loop. You know, the one where things are bad, then appear to be getting better only to turn bad yet again. Rinse and repeat.
And perhaps I wouldn’t have minded so much if I hadn’t also received an email from a reader accusing me of inaccurate reporting in last night’s briefing, which touched on vaccine efficacy.
“Don’t you want to be known for being truthful?” Bonnie asked in her note to me. “While you are lying to your readers currently, one day they will actually all see the data from the actual sources. How will you be able to save face to your own kids and family then? Unless… you have a corrupt agenda.”
To back up her point, Bonnie attached the following graphic from the province’s pandemic dashboard, which she said proved the vaccinated are the most vulnerable based on the data for hospitalizations and deaths.
At first glance, Bonnie would appear to be correct, based on the data the province is serving up to the public.
However, if Bonnie had read just a little further, she would have also seen the following from the province that makes clear the real risks facing those who are not fully vaccinated.
At one level, I really shouldn’t blame Bonnie for the conclusions she has drawn, but I certainly can point the finger at the province for continuing to break down COVID cases by vaccination status without the proper context.
And the proper context missing is that the actual number of Manitobans who are fully vaccinated — a figure now in excess of one million — clearly dwarfs that of the number of vaccinated who suffered breakthrough infections.
The province actually has a graph that proves that point as you can see here:
Alas, that more telling graphic doesn’t have the prominence it needs on the dashboard, despite ongoing efforts on the part of our columnist Tom Brodbeck to have the province address this shortcoming.
So is it any wonder that Bonnie is skeptical about vaccines? Or that Tory MLA Josh Guenter sees more value in showing up at a trucker rally to rail about vaccine mandates, a move that led to him being sacked as the legislative assistant for Health Minister Audrey Gordon after only a few weeks on the job? Or that more and more people will see no reason to contradict Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe when he says vaccines aren’t stopping COVID’s spread?
At some point, the city will clear the roads after this latest snow storm, but when will the province finally clear the confusion it is spreading about the efficacy of vaccines?
The province can’t say the vaccine is the path out of the pandemic while showing graphics that leave the false impression those who got the jab are being hospitalized or dying at a higher rate than the unvaccinated.
While Groundhog Day was a comedy, being stuck in this conflicting data time loop is a tragedy.
Paul Samyn, Editor