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Caution rules the day in the Kiv, but some wonder if all cancellations necessary

While everyone, more or less, subscribes to the better-safe-than-sorry approach to a public health risk such as the spread of the coronavirus disease, there are some who aren’t convinced that every event has to be cancelled due to the threat, especially under controlled circumstances.

Gord Billard of Arviat, who directs the school drama club in the community said the main question in his mind concerning COVID-19 is how much of it is hype and how much of it poses a legitimate threat to people’s lives.

Sabrina Tanuyak took second place in the local kindergarten to Grade 8 science fair at Victor Sammurtok School in Chesterfield Inlet in January. Photo courtesy of Glen Brocklebank

He said he has a gnawing feeling inside that the threat might not be as bad as it’s being made out to be.

“I actually feel bad just for feeling that way because I’m going against the grain of so many other opinions and professionals out there,” said Billard.

“It’s dominating the news and it’s dominating the news feeds on social media – and I get it that it’s super contagious and everything else – but when I look at the statistics for other diseases, the common flu especially, and see how many people that kills every year, I question the knee-jerk reactions that are taking place on a daily basis towards this.

“We had a public health official drop-in here the other day and only three or four people showed up to the meeting.

“When I spoke to him I pointed out that, from what I’ve read, 80 per cent of the people who get it self-resolve, although I do recognize that it’s older and compromised people who are dying.”

Billard said he is really torn by COVID-19.

He said he is afraid of it, but that’s mainly because of all the fear and panic surrounding the virus.

“I’m even questioning my own fear. I’d hate to come down with it because I don’t want that experience, obviously, but it seems to me that the panic and fear are greater than the danger of the disease itself.

“It’s like nothing I’ve seen before, even when SARS, MRSA and all those other ones that have gone through the media in recent years didn’t create as much hype and focus as this has.

“It seems that everyone is talking about it, it’s on everyone’s mind and we’ve almost gotten to a state of hysteria with it.”

Victor Sammortok School teacher Glen Brocklebank is well-known for his love of science in Chesterfield Inlet and across the entire region with his involvement with the Kivalliq Science Educators’ Community (KSEC), which organizes and runs both the annual Science Culture Camp and the Kivalliq Regional Science Fair.

Brocklebank said the science fair has been cancelled for this year based on the concerns and recommendations of the Kivalliq School Operations in Baker Lake.

He said no one wants to be seen as going ahead with something that puts anyone in peril of any kind.

“You do that and someone gets sick, then KSEC could be blamed by some for spreading the disease,” said Brocklebank.

“The Chesterfield Inlet Development Corp. was sponsoring a just for fun, in-town, hockey tournament and our rec co-ordinator had the four-team setup, including an all-female team with moms, girls and kids all playing on. Everyone was really disappointed when it also got cancelled.

“I really hope none of our school activities are cancelled in Chester because, at this point, I really don’t see the need for it.

“Sometimes I feel like I missed something because, as I understand it, influenza kills more people than this virus, but you, pretty much, have to side with  caution right now until we see where this thing goes.

“I never thought I’d see the day when both the NHL and NBA shut down their games, but here we are.”