By Heather Anne Hunter

Most people are physical distancing or self-isolating, but there are always those few who could spoil it for the rest of us. 75% of the population is complying but what about the other 25%? Being young doesn’t make you oblivious and being old doesn’t make you senile. So, just stop it!
I was in a line-up outside the bank yesterday leaving a 2 meter distance between me and the next person, when a man with a dripping nose butted in between us. His reason, “If we leave that much space, someone will butt in.” Dah.

A young mother walking with her friend and their four kids (I doubt they all live together) was telling them what to do if someone were to come too close. “Just say loudly, ‘we have the COVID virus’ and everybody will stay away from us”; then they all laughed. Insensitive, not funny and not a good example.

Most people who pass each other on opposite sides of the street will smile and say hello, but some look dour and suspicious. Hey. I’m not contagious and I don’t have cooties. You aren’t at risk way over there. Get over yourself. And dogs at the end of their 6’ leashes are 12’ apart, so they can safely sniff each other while their humans exchange encouraging words.

Vince lives in an apt in the Beaches. He is working 12 hours a day from home. When he gets shack wacky, he needs to go out for a walk on the boardwalk. His pet peeve is “joggers, breathing heavily, who dash through the spaces left between people keeping a safe distance”. And now, more than ever, people walking and texting need to look up from their phones before they run into others.

COVIDIOTS have driven the mayor nearly to distraction by ripping down caution tape and closed signs in parks and playgrounds, even cutting chains across parking lots. If you think that you are young and invincible, that only geriatric patients are at risk, think again. Mr. Jamal Ali, a Scarborough father, businessman, and much loved coach of a boys’ basketball team, was in good health until he died of the disease at the age of 45. Famous singer, Pink, 40, and her son, Jaimeson, 3, contracted it and barely survived. Young, old and in between are languishing and dying alone in our hospitals. If you are feeling bored and sorry for yourself, suck it up. If you think six weeks of distancing was tough, then try 6 months. That is what it will come down to if we screw it up!

An example of the other extreme is a very hostile older man wearing a mask at No Frills. He went into a tirade flailing his arms and yelling at the harried young workers stocking shelves. The gentleman threatened to report them to the manager for not keeping their distance. Then he yelled at a nervous customer trying to skirt by him saying he was going to call the police so they all would get $1000 fines. These are difficult times and people are doing their best. Give them a break. And why aren’t you at home? You are definitely over 70.

Alcohol consumption is up by over 13%. Just because the beer and liquor stores are considered essential services doesn’t mean you are exempt from getting a DUI. Cabin fever is not an excuse in the eyes of the law. Empty streets and highways seem to be an invitation to street racers. And lately, normally law-abiding drivers, alone on the open road, find themselves doing 20 kilometers or more over the limit. Guess what? The cops will find you and fine you.

At daily press briefings, why do some reporters in accusatory tones repeatedly ask the beleaguered authorities why certain measures weren’t taken earlier? Hind-sight is 20/20. Our chief medical officers and politicians are working night and day to prevent the worst case scenario. There is a fine line between over and under-reacting. The situation is unprecedented. The blame game and, worse still, conspiracy theories will only undermine public confidence and frustrate the weary champions at the helm. Wear a mask if you want to.

Be grateful to be in Canada and not south of the border, where the biggest COVIDIOT of all, their fearless leader, President Trump, is chomping at the bit to re-open America for business and sporting events, more worried about the economy than public health. He shrugs off the warnings of his medical experts and claims “total authority” over state governors. In Canada, sound minds working collaboratively prevail. The state of emergency in Ontario will be extended by at least 28 days.

Trump’s attempt to stop 3M from selling N95 masks to Canada should be a wake-up call. Hopefully, the threat of a shortage of medical supplies has our government and businesses alike re-thinking the wisdom of out-sourcing manufacturing to other countries. Up until now, nearly everything including medication and ventilator parts has been produced abroad leaving us vulnerable. China shipped us thousands of defective masks that were used in some nursing homes, now devastated by the virus. We must be willing to pay more to have the quality and reliability of goods made in Canada.

Premier Ford stated in no uncertain terms: “I’m not going to rely on President Trump, I’m not going to rely on any prime minister of any country ever again … Our manufacturing, we’re gearing up and once they start, we’re never going to stop them.” Bravo. Lesson learned. Thanks Mr. President.

Despite provocation, Prime Minister Trudeau kept his cool and vowed not to take retaliatory measures. Nurses from Windsor working in Detroit would not be used as pawns. Big and small Canadian plants are quickly re-tooling to produce much needed PPE. Distilleries are producing hand sanitizer, CCM is manufacturing medical visors and just about everyone who can sew is making masks. Our greatest resource and hope is our skilled, innovative and reliable workforce.

It is truer now more than ever: the world is a global village. Can humanity work together (albeit staying apart) to combat the present mutual enemy and future threats to civilization? The COVID-19 pandemic is the first big test.