Today is Tuesday April 28th, 2020. It is Day 46 of the lock-down/social-distancing due to COVID-19.
Canadian Prime Minister,Justin Trudeau, issued a stay-at-home-Order. If we must go out, for groceries or prescriptions, we must maintain 6 ft / 2 meters distance. No hugging or touching is allowed should you see friends. (Justin’s wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, was one of the first ‘celebrities’ or heads of states diagnosed with CoVid19. Since then, actors Tom Hanks and Idris Elba, Prince Charles, UK prime minister Boris Johnson, and CNN anchor Chris Cuomo have had it.) The PM, with Canada’s top public health official Dr Theresa Tam, and Department of Transport’s Marc Garneau told Canadians to not travel on March 13th, and if you were travelling, to come home on March 16th.
We spend most of our days working from home/ online, or chatting online to colleagues and friends/ family, because we can’t socialize in person.
One week ago, Nova Scotia was rocked with the worst mass murder in Canadian history. (It was not related to the lock-down. A crazed man impersonated an RCMP officer with uniform and cruiser.)
– The Canadian dollar is worth $ 0.71 to the US dollar, 1 euro $1.52 and the pound is worth $1.14 euro.
– Gas is approx 77 ¢/L (where I live)
– Schools have been closed since mid March and teachers are teaching remotely on-line. Ceili is doing grade 8 via Google meets and Schoology, and Ciara just finished 3rd year at Queen’s online. This public school closure will likely continue for the rest of the school year, as well as private school. As of two days ago, Ontario Premier Doug Ford has extended it to May 31. Ceili will likely finish grade 8 without graduating exercises from middle school to go into senior high school. Ciara will likely not have a summer job this year, but will be home with us, preparing for her LSAT. Bill is working from home.
– After China, Italy and Spain were hardest hit – but the US has quickly surpassed all others for infections and deaths. The US now has over 1 million known infections, and over 58,000 known deaths. NY and NYC has been hardest hit in the states, with NJ, Washington state, and New Orleans having high numbers too . Canada has over 50,000 cases with 3,000 deaths – 25,757 are in Quebec with 1,682 deaths. Ontario has 15,381 cases with 951 deaths. Ottawa has 1,271 cases with 71 deaths. https://www.ottawapublichealth.ca/en/reports-research-and-statistics/resources/Documents/covid-19/28-Apr/Web-PDF-COVID-2019-epi-update_20200428-6b5r.pdf In the US and in Canada, nursing homes have seen deaths skyrocket. Prisons are also seeing an astonishing rise in cases, and some prisoners have been released.
-All “Non-Essential” businesses are closed, with few exceptions (such as grocery/pharmacy/takeout food/ LCBO/ beer store/ banks/ pet stores) – but even those open are open for limited hours. Grocery store clerks are essential workers, as are front line health care workers.
– Many businesses have set their employees up to work from home in order to keep operating. For those working from home, the demands on internet/ wifi are unprecedented . Online conferencing programs, like Zoom, have taken off. Netflix has grown in popularity. Many people binge watch TV series.
– Governments are creating programs (EI, CERB, loans, rent relief, student programs, etc) to pay workers, and help small businesses as well as large ones. The stock market has dropped to incredible lows, and record numbers have registered for unemployment insurance.
– Gatherings of more than 5 people are banned. Individuals can be fined $750 (min) & $100K (Max) & up to 1 yr in jail for violations of the Emergency Order. This includes such things as using playground equipment, and holding larger gatherings. Neighbours are not allowed to congregate on the street.
– There are lines /tape inside the stores (grocery, etc) on the floors to keep people 6 feet apart.
– Bars and restaurants are open only for takeout, home delivery & pick-up. Stores like Home Depot and Canadian Tire are closed to shoppers, but can process online orders, with curb side pick up only. Walmart, having groceries, is open. Book clubs meet virtually online.
– Parks, beaches, hiking trails, and walk-in places are not accessible to the public. Some streets, like Queen Elizabeth Drive, are closed to vehicles to allow citizens to walk, and maintain social distancing.
-Doctors appointments are by telephone or video chat. The Orleans Urgent Care has seen a 65% decrease in patients, and is in risk of closing as fears about visiting hospitals or clinics save CoVid emergencies has escalated. Non-emergency dental appointments are cancelled.
– All major and minor league sports (including NHL, NBA, MLB, etc) have been cancelled, as well as kid’s sports. The Japanese Olympics have been postponed.
– All festivals and entertainment events have been banned. Ottawa has cancelled the Tulip Festival and the Blues Fest. Canada Day is likely to follow. Movie theatres are closed.
– Weddings, family celebrations, and birthdays have been cancelled. Funerals are limited to 10 people, while still remaining 6 ft apart. When my Uncle Phonse passed away, we remembered him online with a zoom call. When my client Muriel passed away, we had a virtual cocktail in her honour.
– People are doing drive-by parades to celebrate birthdays!
– Young kids can’t understand why they can only see grandparents ,& other extended family and friends, on a screen, thru a window if someone visits in person, or on Facetime online.
– – Social Distancing-We have to stay more than six feet (2m) from others. Hugs, kisses and handshakes are not exchanged should you meet someone you know. When you pass someone, if you are out for a walk, people wave more, but maintain the 6 ft distance.
– The churches are closed for in person celebrations, but there have been celebrations streamed live online. Easter Masses were cancelled, as was Passover. Easter and Passover Seder dinners had family congregate online with Zoom calls.
– Talk show hosts (like Trevor Noah, Stephen Colbert, and Seth Myers) are filming from their basements, or front rooms, via Zoom online. Saturday Night Live has run two ‘at home’ specials; no longer “live from New York.” Brad Pitt played Dr. Anthony Fauci – a medical hero.
– There is a shortage of disposable masks and gloves in hospitals.There are fewer ventilators than there should be. People are wearing masks, some places even REQUIRE that you wear them to enter! People are even sewing their own cloth masks for sale or donation to medical facilities.
– Flour, yeast, eggs, meat, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, bleach, antibacterial wipes, and anything Lysol or Clorox is in short supply, and limited per person…. IF you can even find them! Empty grocery shelves are the norm especially for flour and yeast.
– Stores are closing early to disinfect everything. (24 hour stores are even closing by 9 pm). Store check-outs, pharmacies and even fast food drive-thru windows have added Plexiglas between the employee and the customer. Drive thru windows have long queues of cars waiting for service. Stores have created senior hours/ immune-compromised hours for the first hour each morning.
– Australia, USA, Canada and Europe (and many other countries) have closed their borders. Ecaudor lets people drive a day a week, according to the last digit of their licence plate. Greece requires permits to walk your dog. Each country has responded differently. Even the US/Canada border is closed; as well as the Ottawa/ Gatineau bridges are restricting non-essential traffic.
– No one is travelling for leisure. Airports are empty. Tourism has the worst crisis in history. The world has stopped moving, and since 1 in 10 people worldwide work in travel and tourism, the impact is catastrophic. Airlines like AC laid off 16000 workers. Land tours are cancelled. Cruise lines have stopped cruising for months. All cruise lines with more than 500 pax have been banned from Canada until at least July 1st, with all ships banned to the Canadian Arctic for all of 2020. Travel agencies are laying off or terminating salaried employees, as are cruise lines, tour companies, and hotels. Five star hotels are accepting front line hospital workers for extended stays. Oberammergau Passion Play (held only every 10 years) was cancelled. Germany’s Octoberfest was cancelled for the first time since WW11. NYC’s Central Park set up field hospitals in the middle of the park.
– Overall, the heightened anxiety is exhausting. Many report vivid dreams. Alcohol consumption has risen. But people are also baking bread, reading books, and doing puzzles.
Why do I post this? To remember.
April 28, 2020