I'm dreaming of a quiet Christmas - Denny Scott editorial
As I write this column on Monday, I can’t help but look back over the last four days and realize that it’s been a rough stretch for people in Perth and Huron Counties. That is, if they’re taking the pandemic seriously.
Between a nominal increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases outside of the outbreak at Cedarcroft Place and the 60 cases confirmed there over the past 20 days, the relative safety of Huron and Perth Counties during the pandemic has been shaken.
At the same time, there are locales across Canada where COVID-19 cases are spreading faster than they are in the United States where little to no action has taken place to stem the spread of the virus.
It’s a scary time and, when asked, there are many professionals who have not wanted to make any guarantee that by Christmas, a mere month and eight days away, people will be able to safely visit family and friends.
As of Monday morning, Ontario Premier Doug Ford was warning everyone in the red zones that it was irresponsible to be taking unnecessary trips outside of the home. What’s considered unnecessary? Well anything not related to work, groceries, school or medical appointments, according to Ford, and he’s right.
He’s urging everyone in the red zones to work remotely, not visit friends or receive visitors at home and avoid social gatherings. While we’re not in the red zone yet, if things continue to escalate in Huron and Perth Counties, we might head for the orange and red zones sooner than you think.
The announcements come shortly after intimidating forecasts that predict 6,000-6,500 people across Ontario will contract the potentially deadly COVID-19 virus daily. To put things in perspective for The Citizen’s readers, that’s just a few hundred people north of the entire population of Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh or about 1,000 people south of Goderich’s population, every single day.
We’re approaching the traditional cold and flu season and with what has been announced and what we’re being told, it begs the question, will we be able to celebrate Christmas?
Well never let it be said I’m an optimist, because my best guess is no.
We all know people who are breaking the rules and visiting friends or families, or going away for the weekend with people they don't live with or who, plain and simple, didn’t stop living their life throughout this pandemic. It’s because some people act like the disease isn’t something to be worried about that we’re going to see thousands upon thousands of cases and dozens, if not hundreds, of deaths in the near future.
And when it comes time to celebrate Christmas (or Hanukkah or Kwanza or Festivus) and New Year’s, we’re going to be told, at best, we shouldn’t or at worst, we’re not allowed to.
Why am I talking about this well over a month out? Because now is the time to make a change if we’re ever going to get back to some semblance of normalcy before the dumpster fire that is 2020 turns into the landfill fire of 2021 and trust me, I’ve been to landfill fires. They are not nice.
We need to start acting more responsibly and we need to start telling people they should smarten up. We need to stop allowing people to break the rules and put us in danger of this disease.
No one wins when we allow people to ignore the rules or act in a way that harms society.
I especially feel for those who work in the medical field, or those who work to support that field and it’s because I kind of know how some of them must feel watching people shirk their responsibilities and then expect doctors, nurses and support staff to treat them.
There are few things that frustrate me more than sitting in a meeting and hearing someone address an issue from a place of ignorance when I’ve taken hours, days or even weeks covering the same issue to provide people with an idea of what’s going on. The information is there in the newspaper or online, but they just chose not to research it.
I can only imagine that it’s a similar feeling, though of a much smaller magnitude, to watching people protest masks one day, then, the next day, seeing a spike in the number of people who need medical care.
We have all the tools we need to stop the spread of this virus and get back to a normal life, even without a vaccine, but as long as people continue to shirk their responsibilities, ignore the rules and think they’re above it all, we’re all going to suffer. And that suffering might include a Christmas where the closest you’ll get to celebrating with family is through a video screen.