Covid Math

With another lockdown, I’m back to Covid math.

If you have a sander with a #1,000 grit paper, how many sheets do you need to file your foot calluses during a lockdown?

If there are 650 people in line for a vaccine, and it’s blistering cold or wet, how many hours must pass before you’re told they’ve run out? How many days must pass before pneumonia sets in?

How many Zoom meetings does it take for the optimum resting bitch face?

If 75 people are on a Zoom meeting, what percentage will fart without muting their audio?

What is the appropriate distance of time to pass for Coronavirus-themed arts and crafts to show up on platforms like Etsy? The follow-up question begs the inquiry of who’s buying the stuff and why?

If a woman did Kegels every day for three hours during the lockdown, how long would it take until her pelvic floor resembled the upper arms of Dwayne Johnson?

If you have six bras in a drawer, what percentage will see the light of day during the lockdown?

There’s lots of math around Covid. The number of vaccinations required to meet the population’s needs is a math equation all unto itself, as is the cost of the vaccines and the government subsidies.

The math equation I can’t wrap my head around is the issue of homelessness. Why no government to date has made it a priority to invest in or encourage an audit of our systemic breakdowns. Like opioid overdoses, addiction, and complex mental health needs, all perpetuating the pandemic of homelessness. And these are only a few of a laundry list of systemic fractures that plague our recovery. As an advocate for small businesses, a robust economic recovery is the other side of the same coin. These dire social issues are directly interconnected and can no longer be ignored.

This type of conscious competence serves everyone in and out of the pandemic, not just the vulnerable, and it’s contingent upon compassionate leadership. This lack of direction is a math question in a category of its own. How many active brain cells must one have to exercise sound judgement? The conversation to build Hwy 413 with its massive destruction to our environment, while Covid is raging, suggests little to none. Instead, we have the equation of how many reckless leaders it takes to raise, instead of lower, our Covid numbers because that’s precisely what’s happened. Leaders in positions that require no qualifications for leadership.

Covid has not spared any organization, revealing how fractured their operations are and have been for years. Had money been invested annually in maintaining and augmenting these areas alongside a yearly audit, we wouldn’t have those in the 4th stage of cancer or those serving in the Canadian military sleeping in tents in parks.

Former Premier Mike Harris had the opportunity of pressing the green light on over 300 projects when he was in power that would have provided 17,000 permanent residences for those experiencing housing insecurity throughout Ontario. Instead, he cancelled them all just two weeks after he took office—an excellent example of being void of compassion. The only investment made was a substantial negative karmic deposit. Premier Ford pulled a page straight out of Harris’s book just recently, shooting down similar legislation put in front of him. Meanwhile, he’s hustling highway 413, something completely unnecessary that will make mincemeat out of our environment all on Covid’s watch.

I’m challenged by the Premier’s lack of compassion, knowing his brother suffered from addiction. There is not one family that doesn’t have some mental health issue within it. No one is immune. In Ford’s case, the best way to honour his late brother would be to address where the social services failed Rob and fix them, so others don’t go down the same path. Instead, Doug is engaged in a $10 million lawsuit, looking to preserve Rob’s legacy with those who created a movie based on his brother’s troubled life. That isn’t healing. That’s ego.

The other math question is how the ballooned debt gets paid down. Federally, raising the HST will bring in billions, but nothing has been decided as yet. My suggestion is having all three levels of government mine all their assets for where they can generate revenue that they otherwise wouldn’t explore except on this go around with a lens of win/win.

For example, in Toronto, a former councillor named Mary-Margaret McMahon suggested we legalize all front pad parking, but City Council shot it down. Half are currently legal, and half aren’t. Many illegal conform to the environmental requirements while many legal ones do not, so why not just grandfather them all in and implement the necessary green protocols for those that are lacking. Upon closer examination, should this idea be realized and grandfathered in, the city would receive revenue from the collective parking pads annually. Further, the increased assessments on residences would net higher taxes for the province. Add to that those whose front yards would lend themselves to parking, having the necessary green ratio, could partake in laneway housing. Permitting people to have a small laneway suite for in-laws, an office, or these days, a dedicated space to quarantine. A former councillor told me that the front parking conversation was forever closed by Council. That doesn’t fly anymore. Everything needs to be reopened and re-examined at this juncture because of the dramatic shifts in the landscape. Ideas that would increase jobs raise revenue for the city and the province can’t be ignored. The point is mining alternative revenue sources that are win/win. They exist; they’ve just never been sourced out with that intention.

Small businesses, in particular entrepreneurs and freelancers, have a sensibility that those in government do not. I attribute it to having a massive capacity for risk. Those with regular paycheques have a considerably lower risk tolerance, if any, than those who do not. Consequently, those that are not risk-averse find creative solutions that, sadly, our politicians cannot. It’s no wonder patterns get repeated instead of innovative ideas being created. The palette of possibility is limited when you operate from a place of fear and habit.

There is also the math of ICU rooms. If ever there was a situation like a significant train derailment or aviation accident, and we needed hundreds of ICU rooms to accommodate such an event, what would we do? Why are we not prepared? After speaking to a medic who worked in the field for years, she shared that the ICU units were in critical shape years ago. The pandemic has exposed to what degree. The same is true of long-term care facilities. The math for me is how many politicians does it take to ignore something so obvious, which is massively important to the public?

Then there is the math around the pandemic and why we weren’t prepared. Why was there no audit done to prepare for an emergency? After SARS, the ice storm and the blackout, it makes sense to me that the powers that be would have a lightbulb go off to say, “We should have a plan in place in the event we have a significant emergency.” Well, here we are, planless, watching leaders operate from the seat of their pants, some sobbing, wanting us to give our trust away to their fear-based reactions instead of strategizing as they navigate through this pandemic, plan in hand. As a mother, I always had a plan if there was a fire, someone got sick, or an accident happened. There existed a well-thought-out strategy waiting. I’m guessing it’s more natural for women to plan for the unforeseen event being the great fixers we are.

There was no evidence showing that small businesses were the culprits in spreading the virus, having been closed since November. The data, instead, illustrating that big box stores and manufacturers were the offenders. Still, small businesses were consistently ignored, stalling an economic recovery instead of priming it alongside stringent protocols.

Math is about an outcome. It makes us think analytically and helps us to have better reasoning abilities. It shows us the excesses and deficiencies. Plugin the variables, and you have a result. It is a neutral pattern of digits reflecting a current situation numerically, void of optics or ego. If a robust economic recovery is a goal, we must factor in all the social issues. You can’t have an economic recovery in neighbourhoods while dealing with those who need assistance and are screaming for help through actions like theft, vandalism and overdoses. Ignoring it will negatively impact any hope of recovery. Coronavirus was in unto itself a universe of mathematical equations, from the number of Covid cases to available vaccines to days in lockdown to the number of people leaving the city for the outskirts.

The simple truth in this pandemic, with the collective misguided leadership we’ve had, both historically and currently, is that one plus one could never add up to two. Instead, it added up to 911.