I watched this video of today’s anti-mask protest in Calgary today, with hundreds of people in attendance, and have to say it: I no longer recognize my country.
Add to the mix reports that Good Friday sales brought out floods of shoppers to Calgary’s shopping malls (a worker at Chinook Mall posted a video of the crowds to her Twitter feed). CBC News reported:
Despite new provincial restrictions introduced this week, large crowds descended on Chinook Centre during Black Friday sales — and Calgary police say a couple of instances quickly got out of control.
Multiple fights broke out Friday evening, police confirmed, and officers escorted a “whole bunch” of unruly patrons out of the facility. No charges were laid.
At this point, Calgary police Staff Sgt. Mike Calhoun said the emphasis remains on education rather than enforcement — but that could change.
“We’re starting on giving warnings,” Calhoun said. “If we’re starting to see [people] not complying, we’ll move to enforcement.”
I predict that Alberta, which broke new records today in COVID-19 diagnoses, hospitalizations, and ICU admissions, is going to see a further COVID-19 surge that will overwhelm hospitals and healthcare systems, in the next 2 to 3 weeks.
Meanwhile, here in Manitoba, Winnipeg police and the RCMP are having their hands full dealing with churches who are willfully disobeying the province-wide pandemic lockdown, which includes a ban on in-person religious gatherings. The Winnipeg Free reported that Manitoba’s largest church was among them:
Winnipeg’s Springs Church is the latest congregation flouting public health orders aimed at protecting Manitobans to lower the number of daily cases of COVID-19.
The largest church in the province held a drive-in service in its parking lot on Lagimodiere Boulevard just north of Fermor Boulevard on Saturday night with plans to hold three more on Sunday.
All four services will be in violation of the province’s public health restrictions for gatherings. Along with ordering the cancellation of all religious gatherings, saying services have to be conducted only virtually, the province has also restricted both indoor and outdoor gatherings to five people.
South-east of the city in the Manitoba Bible Belt town of Steinbach, the RCMP moved in block people from attending services at the Church of God Restoration, which has already been slapped with several fines. Global News reported:
Manitoba RCMP blocked the parking lot of a church that was trying to host a service Sunday.
Global News reporters on the scene heard RCMP officers telling people if they walk into the parking lot toward the Church of God Restoration, which is south of Steinbach they will be fined.
There were about 150 or so cars lined up down the road outside the church with people sitting in their cars.
There are at least 10 RCMP cars with officers walking in the area.
The province banned all faith-based gatherings as part of the level red pandemic restrictions put in place on Nov. 12 while COVID-19 cases skyrocketed in the province.
The Southern Health Region, where the church is located, had 1,126 active novel coronavirus cases Saturday — 1,885 people have recovered since the virus reached the province, while 56 have died.
As of Saturday, 76 were in hospital.
Steinbach as recently as two weeks ago, had a test positivity rate of 40 per cent.
Scott Billeck, a local reporter for the Winnipeg Sun newspaper, shared on Twitter an example of the hate mail and death threats he says he now receives on a regular basis, simply for reporting the news about the coronavirus pandemic in Manitoba:
And, in the CanadaCoronavirus community on Reddit, somebody from Toronto shared a flyer he had received, that is filled with so much misinformation, disinformation, and crackpot conspiracy theories, that it boggles the mind:
Plandemic refers to a pair of 2020 conspiracy theory videos produced by conspiracist Mikki Willis which promote falsehoods and misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic. They feature Judy Mikovits, a discredited former researcher who has been described as an anti-vaccine activist despite her denial, and many others.
The first video became viral, making it one of the most widespread pieces of COVID-19 misinformation. It was soon removed by multiple platforms.
Snopes.com, the internet’s definitive fact-checking website, has debunked a collection of Plandemic-related claims here. The Conversation website published an article titled Coronavirus, ‘Plandemic’ and the seven traits of conspiratorial thinking, which outlines seven distinctive traits of conspiratorial thinking; the Plandemic “documentary” offers textbook examples of all seven.
People’s hatred, ignorance, and stupidity are making the coronavirus pandemic worse—and it’s not just happening in the United States! All of the examples I share with you in this blogpost happened in Canada. The Canadian federal, provincial, and municipal governments have not politicized the pandemic as Republicans and Trump supporters did in the U.S., and most governments have worked according to the science-based recommendations made by the doctors and infectious disease experts advising them. However, all levels of government are now fighting an uphill battle to beat back the veritable tsunami of ignorant misinformation (and deliberately-planted disinformation) that has taken hold of our social media.
I am deeply worried that, over the next four to six weeks, we are going to see an unprecedented spike in COVID-19 cases and deaths that will bring our hospitals and healthcare systems, here and all across North Aamerica, to the breaking point.
And late yesterday evening, I received the first news that someone I follow on Twitter has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and is now in hospital:
GermanRifter is a VR enthusiast whom I follow on Twitter for his posts; he lives in Stuttgart, Germany. I don’t know him personally, but this lit a fire under me to start work on a document outlining my requests and wishes in the event of my death (COVID-19 or otherwise). I am already working with a lawyer who is drawing up a will, a financial power of attorney, and a healthcare power of attorney. I have already begun writing up a document and making arrangements with six key contact people, who will know what to do with my blog and my virtual possessions in the event I become incapacitated, or (God forbid) die.
I have even gone so far as to issue a updated call for people who would like to inherit one of my Second Life avatars via my will! (Twenty of them are now spoken for, but I still have many that I would like to give good homes to in the event of my death. It would give me great pleasure to know that my avatars will live on after me!)
The COVID-19 pandemic (being made worse by people’s hateful, ignorant, and stupid behaviour) is forcing all of us to confront our mortality, and to plan ahead for worst case scenarios.
Stay healthy and stay sane in these trying times—and fight the misinformation and conspiracy theories wherever you encounter them!