Today, Manitoba’s top doctor reminded us that we all need to prepare for a Christmas which we will only be able to share with the members of our immediate household (and, in my case, for the first time in all my Christmases, alone):
The 5-day COVID-19 test positivity rate in Manitoba is almost 15%; in the Mennonite Bible Belt town of Steinbach, it is still hovering around 40%.
Despite this, the Steinbach Church of God still stubbornly plans to go ahead with in-person services, despite receiving several fines to date (since that article was written, the church has been issued a third, larger fine). It should probably come as no surprise that the Steinbach Church of God’s minister, Tobias Tissen, was a speaker at a now-notorious anti-mask rally held in Steinbach on November 14th (which I blogged about here).
Meanwhile, a woman in a Kelowna, British Columbia, thrift store was arrested for entering the store without a facemask, refusing to leave, then screaming at and assaulting two police officers who were called to the scene:
And 30-year-old Jordan Alex Taylor knocked over and repeatedly punched a Walmart employee in Dawson Creek, B.C., who requested that he wear a facemask in the store (police reviewing the store’s surveillance video were able to identify Jordan, and later arrested him for the assault; you can view a 20-second video of the attack, captured by a nearby shopper’s cellphone, courtesy of the CBC).
All of which is slowly but surely, eroding my faith in humanity. The coronavirus pandemic is truly bringing out the worst, most odious impulses in some people. I look at the three examples I listed above and think: whatever happened to people thinking about the public good, instead of just themselves?
Has it always been like this, and it just took a pandemic to bring it to the surface? Has social media like Facebook played a role in this? Has our education system failed to produce civic-minded people? I must confess I am at a loss.
The misadventures of Tuesday evening have also underlined an unpalatable truth: that no matter how much care I take, and no matter how many precautions I follow, at any moment something unexpected could happen, that throws all my carefully-laid plans up in the air, and puts me at risk of exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.
So, no, I’m not feeling particularly optimistic this evening.
UPDATE Nov. 27th, 2020: This morning’s editorial cartoon in the Winnipeg Free Press pretty much says it all.
And so does this chart, also courtesy of the Winnipeg Free Press: