Canada reported its first case of COVID- 19 on Jan. 25, 2020, when a man in his 50s arrived in Toronto from Wuhan, China. Since then, most Canadians have been taking care to protect themselves and their loved ones from the virus. Residents often wash their hands, disinfect their hands, keep their distance, and listen to the vigilance of public health experts, so Canadians have assumed the responsibility of controlling the virus.
Information about infectious diseases is everywhere, and why it’s important to protect yourself. Reports of the deadly virus in other countries made Canadians diligently take all precautions. However, all of this has changed, and Canadians are beginning to act as if the country has never had a coronavirus case.
Except for major cities, it seems that there are no protective measures, such as wearing masks. In Ontario, as soon the government lowered its guard, many youths started going to clubs and bars. Private parties and rule-skirting reigned, while flights with COVID-positive passengers onboard continued this past summer. We hear all the time in the news about the procedures and policies, the huge challenges and the bid to make sure everyone is wearing a mask. Yet, Canadians have lowered their vigilance. This is a dangerous trend that started with politicians, but has steadily spread to the public. The result?
On Sep. 28, Ontario’s daily COVID-19 case count rose to numbers unseen since the height of the pandemic, at 700 confirmed cases. Although the number of reported COVID-19 cases in the country last month has decreased, it seems Canadians interpret it as meaning complete safety and a quick return to normal. Far from it, Canada still faces real danger. It may be necessary to learn from other countries that have witnessed a resurgence of cases due to hasty reopening. Some of them that have been opened are now considering imposing restrictions again. At the same time, crowded bars, strip clubs, restaurants and occasional social gatherings and other cultures are slowly emerging. If unchecked, it may take us back to where we started. This kind of public behaviour is dangerous, covering the entire province like a dark cloud.
The reality is that law enforcement officers cannot be everywhere to ensure that everyone abides by the law, and ensuring safety is the responsibility of Canadians themselves. Although the country must reopen and life must return to normal, it must be interpreted as implying a new normal. It cannot be normalized in a hurry, but must be taken care of by Canadians. That’s what happened in Ontario and Quebec.
The provinces rushed to the third stage, with bars, restaurants and strip clubs, among others, bearing the brunt of public congregations. No matter what our PM or health officials said, it’s not a second wave of COVID-19, it’s just a result of the third stage of reopening. Now, in Ontario, Premier Ford is stuck betwen a rock and a hard place, seeing an increase in numbers and imposing stricter restrictions while still trying to preserve the business community from losing more ground if a second full lockdown is called. Obviously, Canadians want to move on, but if such a move only makes us retreat, there is no urge to move forward. Let Canadians remember that the worst may pass, but there is no evidence that we can’t get back there.
The Ministry of Health’s agreement is still valid, and if the country wants to escape this victory, it needs serious attention. So far, Canada got 155,000 COVID – 19 cases and 9,270 deaths as of Sep. 28. Further blows can and should be avoided at all costs. If Canadians can tolerate six months of safety, then spending the next few months carefully will ensure that our collective safety can be maintained and further peaks can be avoided.
Let us always remind ourselves that no matter how long it takes, we are going to get out of the fangs of this pandemic that has nearly paralyzed the entire world. It is necessary to move forward, but let’s do it with great care and concern.