My family isn’t known to have current events discussions. Somehow over Thanksgiving, with CNN on in the background at my parents’ house, all eyes were on the U.S. president and what’s happening down south. That’s when the chatter started.
It didn’t help that story after story was about Donald Trump, and perhaps the cable news network does go overboard with its constant criticism of the president — but is it justified? People seem to think so.
After my brothers and parents weighed in on the ridiculousness of American politics, the conversation turned to our country. The rising coronavirus numbers in Manitoba was of great concern.
My brother and his wife are educators — my brother’s school had a confirmed case the first week back in September. My mom retired from a school division in June but was told her former elementary school had a case last week.
The daily updates from the Province of Manitoba aren’t doing much to put people at ease. In fact, some of my family wondered if the government will be more to blame as the pandemic worsens.
“When there were barely any cases, everything was shutdown,” said my brother. “Now it’s practically getting out of control and the government is stepping back and putting it on us.”
I agree with that sentiment, and I also agree that as adults we should be capable of making smart decisions. Problem is, many people aren’t. So, what’s the resolution?
Remember when the outbreak started, the federal government was loose on international travel and who was still allowed in our country. It was practically the honour system when you were questioned to board a plane to Canada. “Yeah, I’m healthy — let’s go.” When they realized that wasn’t good enough, restrictions were tightened.
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For instance, years ago when it was identified that too many people were speeding through school zones, it resulted in new traffic laws. The problem was identified and the Province said, “OK, if you people can’t be safe and responsible, we’ll change the rules.” And they did. I’m not saying it instantly solved the problem but it’s an example of how the government flexed its muscle.
As coronavirus cases increase, we’re seeing regions across the country gradually modifying the rules for restaurants and other service industries, but it’s not immediate. It’s not a full-on shutdown as we saw in the spring.
So, if the governments are being loosey goosey on rolling back the closures (and I completely understand the importance of keeping things open to help the economy) is it the elected officials or the ignorant public who should be blamed?
The governments have the power to shut it all down. And they have before. And it seemed to work. If they don’t do it this time, are they complicit? Are THEY the ones spreading COVID-19?