Media paints too dark a picture of COVID-19: Hampstead Mayor

Hampstead Mayor William Steinberg

The news media paints an overly pessimistic picture of the COVID-19 virus, Hampstead Mayor William Steinberg wrote in a message to residents.

"Do not believe the media when they paint a very dark picture," Steinberg wrote on the town's website. "They always assume the worst in order to have the most dramatic story."

For example, "last week they were saying that when the pandemic peaked we would not have enough ventilators, masks, hand sanitizers, gowns and other supplies.

"Now we know that car manufacturers are retooling plants to produce ventilators, textile manufacturers are making masks, Labatt’s will be producing hand sanitizer which will not smell like beer," he added. "The list goes on. Solutions to double or triple hospital beds are also in the works. I would not want to be in New York City right now, but in the rest of North America and more so in Canada, we should be fine."

Steinberg added that according to reports, the Coronavirus is very contagious, because no one has immunity.

"That is true, but you can’t get it if you stay home and practice all the measures to keep you safe. Further, as people are getting it they develop immunity and can no longer be vectors for transmission to others. That is why epidemics always come to an end. Also be aware that the vast majority of people who get the virus will have mild or no symptoms, others will have the equivalent of a flu. Only a very small number will need to be hospitalized."

The Mayor also addressed the issue of more vulnerable populations, such as seniors and those with underlying conditions.

"Previously there were no cures, and that was scary. However, doctors around the world are doing research and a number of drugs are promising. Perhaps the most promising is hydroxychloroquine, a drug used to treat malaria and rheumatoid arthritis. It is generally safe, inexpensive and, most importantly, it has been effective in limited trials with patients. More testing will be required to find the optimum dosage and conditions for use, but the drug has great potential."

Steinberg pointed out that JAMP Pharma, based in Boucherville, is "producing a million doses for distribution at no charge to Canadian hospitals. There are other drugs and drug combinations that show promise in early trials as well.

"I know some of you are complaining that this isolation and change of our usual routines is hell," the Mayor added. "Have we become such a pampered society that we can’t handle a little deprivation? Previous generations had to deal with World War II and the Great Depression before that. Many of us, not all, live in big beautiful homes with every modern convenience. We can handle these inconveniences and we will be better for it."

Steinberg acknowledged the economic hardships for some, "but the federal and Quebec governments are introducing measures to cushion the blow. This short term pain is absolutely necessary to come out of this in weeks rather than months. However, everyone must do his/her part."

As with his comments regarding "ethnic cleansing without a gun" regarding the religious symbols law Bill 21, reaction to Steinberg's comments regarding prompted mostly harsh comment on Facebook, with language that cannot be printed in a family newspaper.

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