Forrest Gump would often say, “My mama always said, ‘Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you might get’.” In the strange world of 2020, the box of chocolates could contain a deadly piece: COVID-19.
From the very beginning of the pandemic, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Dr. Theresa Tam assured us every morning that we would get through this together, if we remained patient, stayed at home when possible, and practised safe distancing at all times.
They warned us about the dangers of removing restrictions too early, as we might lose all that we have gained. We understood a solution could be a long time coming, even a year or more. Our own Dr. Bonnie Henry became known and admired across Canada for her gentle but firm words, “be calm, be kind, be safe.”
We listened, realized what we are up against, and began to make immediate changes in our daily lives. It was surreal as if we were suddenly in a post-apocalyptic world, but we all tried to do our part. Hand sanitizers and plexiglass shields appeared quickly in every store. We applauded our health care and essential workers. We appreciated their sacrifices. We were proud of ourselves and our province as we flattened the curve.
Then restrictions were lifted, often in the name of economics. In a short time, far too many people threw away common sense and vigilance. The curve is rising higher and faster than ever.
Bars re-opened and, in spite of the efforts of management to follow guidelines, they are often packed with people who are eager to return to a semblance of normality. Beaches are crowded with few masks to be seen. House parties have become a serious source of infection.
Despite the obvious results of lifting restrictions, as reflected in daily case numbers, a growing group of anti-maskers complain that their rights are being violated by being forced to wear masks. Perhaps they mean their right to spread infection.
Mama Gump, in her wisdom, taught Forrest another truth that applies to some of humanity these days, “stupid is as stupid does.”