They don’t care so much if young people and their parents get sick and even die from COVID-19. But they do care about the hospital ICUs being overwhelmed.

That’s the message Quebec’s public health director seems to have given citizens, according to reports.

And it’s the reason why I have decided not to vote for the ruling Coalition Avenir Québec in the next election — which until today I had planned to do in recognition of the efforts they have made during the pandemic.

Reports Andy Riga of the Montreal Gazette in his daily blog covering the pandemic:

“Cases have risen in recent days even as Quebec has reduced restrictions on gyms, spas, theatres and places of worship, and told all high school students to return to full-time in-classroom learning.

“Horacio Arruda, the province’s director of public health, … told La Presse that the province knew that variants would increase, and that sending Grades 9, 10 and 11 students back to school full-time would cause a spike in cases.”

“Even if I have 2,000 cases in Quebec, but we don’t have any major increases in hospitalizations or deaths, we can live with that. For sure we’re going to have, since the elderly are protected, (younger people) who maybe end up in intensive care and die, which is horrible. But at the same time, is squeezing everything and people doing (things) on the sly, any better?”

Horacio Arruda

In a TV news report last night, high school students said they were worried about going back to class and that working from home had been working out quite well. One expressed concerns that a third wave could derail her school plans next September.

Meanwhile, the Collège des médecins du Québec has been urging the provincial government to re-evaluate its decision to lift some restrictions.

To no avail.

So, you have to feel for parents of high school kids. Not only is the government OK with their kids getting unnecessarily ill from COVID-19. It doesn’t seem to be concerned about the parents, either. So, some of them may die. So what?

It seems that whenever Quebec is getting ahead of the virus, the government ignores the advice of the medical community and moves too quickly to lift restrictions — which had been working pretty well.

But Arruda’s statement today is particularly disturbing to me. He’s willing to sacrifice people, apparently, and the government he advises is OK with that.

I’ve mentioned before that I feel for politicians stuck with the job of having to guide citizens through the pandemic. And I get the need to try to boost the economy and get people back to normal lives. But I don’t think politicians should be calling the shots. The medical community should be in charge, and the politicians should take their orders from them.

I have colleagues with kids in high school. I fear for their families.

— Jillian