January 5, 2021
by Chris Sorrenti
Unlike some politicians and/or their staffers, who left the country during the holiday season for exotic locales like the Caribbean and Hawaii, my brother, sister, and myself, behaved ourselves. The three of us staying at home (as directed by those same politicians), and celebrating Christmas individually with our children.
Mark, my younger brother, who has two grown up daughters, had one and her kids visit him in the morning, while the other stopped by in the afternoon. My younger sister (I'm the oldest of the three), Nadine, who also has two adult daughters living with her, also kept to their bubble. In pre-pandemic days, we would all get together, usually Christmas day.
As for the above-mentioned politicos, it was the old story of “Do as I say and not as I do.” Whoever travelled have since been caught, and publicly shamed in the media. All of them forced to resign or step down from their plum positions, apologizing profusely for their poor judgement, though I think it’s more because they got caught than any sincere contrition. As always, Hypocrisy knows no bounds.
As to be expected, the rollout of vaccines across Canada has hit several bumps in the road. It is after all still early in the game, and no country, especially one this size (second largest in the world following Russia) has had to face the logistical nightmare of such an endeavor.
Many keep citing Israel as a model, way ahead of everyone else in vaccinating its citizens. Israel however is a very small country with matching population (8.6 million). Also, of note is that it has yet to start vaccinating Palestinians living in the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Although Canada is a huge country, its relatively small population of 35 million is spread across the land, with the majority living in large urban centres in the south, with smaller concentrations stretching as far north as the Arctic Circle. Many places in the north are only accessible by air. Although Canada has begun receiving larger and larger shipments of the approved vaccines, a good portion of it is sitting in freezers, waiting to be distributed. To make matters even more complicated, the Pfizer vaccine has to be stored at around -70 degrees Celsius, so special freezers have had to be procured. The Moderna vaccine is more flexible in that it can be stored at warmer temperatures, so only regular freezers are required. What is agreed upon is that nursing home residents and workers, doctors, nurses, first responders, should be vaccinated first.
I went for my six-month dental checkup and cleaning this morning. As to be expected, the city bus and LRT (Light Rail Transit (train)) had only sparse amounts of riders on them. Ottawa as with most of Ontario is under another full lockdown, on account of the growing number of COVID cases, as we are now seeing (as predicted) the result of so many not following the rule (or better guideline) of not gathering in private homes, etc. for Christmas and New Year’s.
I couldn’t believe it. When I got on the LRT, a young man in his 20s got on after me. Sitting a few seats away, I looked over it at him, and immediately noticed something wrong...he wasn’t wearing a face mask. Here he is, bopping to his earbuds, as if nothing was wrong. Face masks are mandatory on public transit, but because there was no one enforcing the rule, and the driver of the train was several cars away, he got away with it. I moved farther away from him.
When I got to my stop at the St. Laurent Shopping Centre, I decided to walk though the mall to see if anything was open. To my surprise, I came across a Dollarama that was, along with one of those coffee kiosks. Although it was open for business, there was nowhere to sit, and so I continued on to my dentist’s office in a nearby office tower. It was sad to see such a large mall, once so full of life, with few people wandering about, and most of the stores shuttered.
The day before, I had to fill out a short questionnaire online for the dentist, assuring the office that I hadn’t recently travelled abroad or was suffering from any of the usual COVID symptoms. Upon arrival, my temperature was taken with one of those little infrared thermometers, before being escorted to ‘the chair’. I removed my face mask for the duration of the checkup/teeth cleaning (look ma...no cavities!), while the dental hygienist wore a face mask underneath a plastic visor. I then proceeded back home.
Meanwhile, although the United States has also begun vaccinating its citizens, things have grown from bad to worse down there, especially in California. So bad, that paramedics are being forced to ration oxygen, now in short supply, and also having to choose who not to deliver to the hospital, if appearing too far gone. What a terrible decision to have to make. Sad.
Here in Canada, numbers also continue to rise, with field hospitals now being employed in southern Ontario, in places like Windsor. For the first time, freezer trucks have also begun to be used, as some morgues have run out of room.
Staying positive, as the saying goes, “It's always darkest before the dawn.”
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Posted on 01/06/2021
Copyright © 2021 Chris Sorrenti