A Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper
Posted November 19th, 2021 on Niagara At Large
Niagara’s acting Medical Officer of Health, Mustafa Hirji, appears to be having a Dr. Fauci moment.
Dr. Anthony Fauci – most of us by now would know – is an American medical doctor, recognized as one of the world’s foremost experts on infectious disease. Throughout the past, almost two years of this COVID-19 pandemic, he has also been a rock-solid presence, recommending the most up-to-date measures we need to take to protect ourselves and our communities against this deadly virus, based on science.
For his efforts, Dr. Fauci found himself being vilified as “Dr. Gloom and Doom” and other negative titles by a segment of the population who wanted government to fire him from whatever positions he was holding for recommending precautionary measures they viewed as an assault on their freedoms.
Now, according to recent stories in the local media, Niagara’s acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Mustafa Hirji, is the target of an orchestrated email campaign (involving some 15 emails being sent so far to every member of Niagara’s Regional Council, including the Region’s Chair, Jim Bradley and its Chief Administrative Officer, Ron Tripp.
Among other things, the emails are reportedly demanding Dr. Hirji’s resignation for daring to recommend everything from vaccination and mandatory mask-wearing, to off-and-on lockdowns during what in fact is a deadly, viral nightmare that has snuffed out the lives of more than 750,000 people across this continent in just 20 months.
There are also reports that anti-vaxxers and their ilk are planning to hold a “Rally for Freedom” in Niagara Falls this Saturday, November 2oth.
Freedom from what, I ask?
Freedom from wearing a mask? Freedom from getting vaccinated?
Freedom to be able to go back to doing whatever they want, oblivious to the fact that more infectious variants of this virus are wreaking havoc around us?
What if we were to argue that what these reckless, irresponsible individuals are really doing is freeing up the potential for yet another wave of this deadly virus?
They don’t ‘Rallies for Freedom’. They hold rallies for COVID-19!
Frankly, one gets sick and tired of hearing these individuals say that weather or not they take the vaccine or wear a mask should be “my choice” because it is “my body” and “I am living to face the risk and consequences.
That is a load of garbage. We all face the consequences through the risks that the “choices” these individuals pose to the health and safety of all of us, along with the horrendous costs to local economies and to our health care system.
To touch on just one example, a team of medical experts put out a report recently showing that the cost of treating a COVID patient (most of them unvaccinated) in the intensive care units of our hospitals is significantly more than the cost of treating a patient with cancer or heart disease. And we all pick up the bill for that.
So I stand behind Dr. Hirji as he is being targeted by some in Niagara who still don’t get the seriousness of what is going down here, and I hope our Niagara Regional Council will do the same.
On that score, I don’t get this motion that one Niagara mayor, Kevin Gibson, put forward and was unfortunately approved by the Region’s council this past September, to commence with the hiring of a permanent Medical Officer of Health at this time.
In a recent news report, Gibson stressed that “of course” his motion is not a comment on Dr. Hirji’s performance. Gosh, Mr. Mayor, you had me fooled.
I think it’s safe to say that few other public officials in Niagara are facing more challenges during these unprecedented times than this doctor is, and few have been more swamped with work directly tied to the health and welfare of all of us.
There is an old saying – “Don’t change horses in the middle of the stream.”
Can our Regional Council not wait until there is some real certainty that the worst of this pandemic is over until we talk about hiring a permanent medical health officer?
Surely there are other issues, like affordable housing and building a robust regional transit system and approving a new Official Plan that protests and preserves what is left of Niagara’s natural heritage, that can occupy our regional councillors’ time.
Doug Draper, Niagara At Large
P.S. – There is something Dr. Anthony Fauci said several months ago that I continue to find haunting as we suffer through all of the death and damage this virus has caused – “If everyone who could take the vaccine had taken it by now,” he said, “we could have CRUSHED this thing.”
To read a related story, click on –https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/cihi-covid19-canada-hospital-cost-1.6168531 .
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