Students Moving out of Dorm at University 
Brutally said, younger people are being asked to make a huge sacrifice in social life, personal life and economic prosperity to save the older population from COVID-19. 
Today I ask you this question:
Should we change our approach to Covid-19 so as not to sacrifice the young for the old?
A vibrant, dynamic society builds for its future. Such a society values its youth more than its old people. Yes, old people, such as myself, have much to offer. For example, I am still teaching a few students at a local private High School initiative. It gives me a reason to get up in the morning and makes it seem as if I still contribute to our society. However, let’s be honest, my 16 year old students are more important to the future of Canada than I am. I fear that our current approach, which I consider fear based rather than logic based, is sacrificing them for me.
I agree with this headline:
Young people have sacrificed their social and personal lives, and their economic prosperity, for older people 
And another article states:
In these unprecedented times, individual liberties are at odds with the well-being of our species, and for most people, old and young, our present is pitted against our future. 
Exactly. Public health at times like this should trump individual liberties: but public health that should NOT pit present against future but focus on policies that build a better future. Let’s be clear, I am not suggesting a free for all and no social distancing or masks. Quite the contrary. These safety measures are reasonable and sensible and work and allow people to still get on with their lives. But shutting life down, especially when statistics show that most current infections are happening in private social settings where no rules are enforceable,  is counterproductive. This approach sends the message, without meaning to, that fear and politics rather than logic and science, control our responses to the Pandemic.
What is happening in Africa with regards to Covid is very telling:
On September 29th, the world passed the one million reported deaths mark (the true figure will of course be higher). On the same day, the count for Africa was a cumulative total of 35,954. Africa accounts for 17% of the global population but only 3.5% of the reported global COVID-19 deaths. The emerging picture is that in many African countries, transmission has been higher but severity and mortality much lower than originally predicted based on experience in China and Europe. Across multiple countries the risk of dying of COVID-19 for those aged 80 years or more is around a hundred times that of people in their twenties. We argue that Africa’s much younger population explains a very large part of the apparent difference.
What is Africa telling us? Covid almost only strikes down the old AND sickly [being old but healthy helps a lot!]. The brutal truth in Africa is almost everybody who is old and sick is already dead and thus the prime victims of Covid-19 do not exist. This observation confirms what we all know: the young and healthy have little risk at dying from Covid and all our measure are only to save the oldies like me. The punchline is that our current approach is saving oldies such as myself is only happening at the expense of younger and other vulnerable populations [those with addictions, mental health challenges, those not getting needed surgery, kids not getting any exercise, spouses suffering more from abuse at home because of unemployed partners, young people unemployed – especially those in the service sector, etc. ]. We are currently “saving” some people but in doing so choosing to let other die. These ‘others’ are disproportionally the young. When nearly 8,000 Americans aged 24 and younger died from gun violence in 2018, youths’ pleas for gun control fell on deaf ears. After nearly 11,000 young American lives were lost to suicide and drug overdoses in 2018, mental health and substance abuse treatment has remained limited and difficult to access. Efforts to reduce climate change, despite urgent pleas to do so, have been sparse. Should young Americans now be asked to protect the older adults who failed to protect them? Is that fair?  When looked at this way, it should make us all ask the question I pose here today:
I think the problem is not the answer but being allowed to even ask the question. Right now the public conversation cannot see that one group is benefiting from our current approach while another is suffering. Why? Culture. Politics. Power: the old have money and political clout – the young have neither. Clearly the answer to stating the best policy is not obvious and beyond my ability – or else we would have tried to do it. However, I think we have deep cultural barriers to even considering solutions because they are just too “barbaric”. Well, I think it is also “barbaric” to destroy the lives of our youth and fill them with a fear that is not warranted. This is especially true if you consider the point I made in another article that this virus is probably not like the Spanish flu in that it is not ”going away” but mutating What if we are stuck with it forever? What if it just becomes a more deadly version of the annual flu and pneumonia which killed over 8,000 Canadians in 2018? Really, perhaps the real issue is our fear. This is a new way to be killed, but really not more dangerous than others, as made clear here :
“Why do people fear terrorism and SARS so much more than automobile accidents and cardiovascular disease? Because terrorism and SARS seems new and unknown, and therefore uncertain,” Rosenthal wrote in his book. “Humans can accept significant danger and loss of numerous lives, provided these happen in a manner to which they are accustomed.”
If this is true, what we really need to do to “fight” the virus is accept it. To become more healthy. To give workers in Old Age Homes a living wage with full time work so that they can work in only one facility. To allow us oldies to go shopping at special times of the day with nobody else in the store. To accept that life is risk, and that nobody gets out of here alive. Perhaps our inability to have delayed gratification explains our current approach: the coronavirus can kill us today, while cancer, heart disease, opioid addiction, depression, divorce, pneumonia, car crashes, etc. “may” kill us in the future – so we discount them. Besides, to reduce the risk of all these dangers would require us to make significant life style changes and accept responsibility for our health. With Covid, we can “blame” the public health authorities. We are not responsible. A Critical Care nurse I know told me: “There are much more dangerous viruses than Covid-19 out there. We have learned to cope with them and accept the risk they entail. We now need to adapt our lives to live with Covid-19 and get on with living, but realistically and sensibly. We can learn to be careful but will have to live with this new risk.”
HOT OFF THE PRESS
To add complexity to already messy issue, here is news from Russia which could make it clear that all our current efforts are but half way measures, that everything I just said is only a small part of any solution, and that vaccines will not rescue us:
Russian professor twice infects himself with COVID-19, says herd immunity won’t save us – second time was much worse than the first
Don’t expect herd immunity to save us the COVID-19 pandemic, warned a Russian professor after he deliberately infected himself twice with COVID-19 virus to study the resultant antibodies. Dr. Alexander Chepurnov, 69, caught the virus for the first time in February while on a flight from France to Novosibirsk with a stopover in Moscow, but was able to recover back home in Siberia without hospitalization. Curious to see what would happen in the event of a re-infection. Chepurnov became his own human guinea pig and deliberately exposed himself to COVID-19 patients without protection. Six months after his first infection, his body’s defences fell and he was again sick with coronavirus. “The first sign was a sore throat,” he told the Daily Mail. The second infection was much more serious and Chepurnov had to be hospitalized. 
Remember, we are responsible for our futures. Our behaviours and choices matter. All that I ask you to consider is to see that the way the dichotomy of “be Covid safe” vs the “anti-maskers” is a false dichotomy. There will be innocent victims of this new virus, no matter what. What we need to do is accept and realize that for the over-all health of our society the needs of the youth must be placed above those of the oldies like me and that this IS possible – without being barbaric.
So, what are you doing?
What are you doing to help the young people you know not just cope with Covid-19, but thrive? How are you helping them be realistic but still optimistic about their future?
How are you helping them not be fearful?
What are you doing to live in such a way even if Covid-19 becomes a permanent part of life?
What are you doing to be both safe but to still live a rich and fulfilling life?
Whatever solutions we find part of that solution will be accepting that life has always been dangerous. Now we just have a new danger, but with understanding and by working together, life can go on, it must go on – especially for our youth.