Staying the course and staying at home

It felt eerie while driving through the city today. Everything in downtown was closed.  My favorite Starbucks was closed. Chairs and tables were stacked. My favorite Vietnamese restaurant was closed. The only stores open were grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies, fast food joints for takeout or delivery, and hardware stores.  That’s the basic extent of what I noticed anyway. 

I finally found toilet paper at a pharmacy today.  Some places have to stay open like essential goods and services but most people are staying home. Here in Canada, we’ve begun to take it very seriously.  I know there are pockets in every city where people are still out and about.  We all need to take social distances and self-isolation more seriously and stay home.

From the start, Asian countries have been taking this pandemic extremely seriously because they lost many lives through SARS.  Today, they are ready and are already taking health precautions more seriously than Europe and North America.  Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore are testing the public with more intensity than we are in North America.

Deserted roads in Inida after Janata Curfew Photo: ANI

Asians say they feel safer in Asia than they do here in Canada. Asian nations take more precautions than we do in America, Canada and Europe. Experts are now saying that Asian nations could see a second wave of the outbreak.

State governors, provincial premiers, city mayors and civic leaders are now sending a stronger message to the public to stay home.  COVID-19 is now spreading amongst the community who have not traveled internationally.  The coronavirus is being spread by and to others who did not travel outside the country.

Today, it sounded like President Trump would like to have restrictions lifted by April. What we can draw from this is that he is concerned the coronavirus will hurt the economy and people’s jobs, savings and assets.

We all know this not the time to even consider lifting restrictions on social distancing. We need to stay the course, otherwise, we could endanger more people.

Hospitals in Italy, Iran, Spain are now in panic mode and bursting from the seams.  So we need to stay healthy and isolate ourselves at home. Don’t go outside.  Otherwise, we will be where Italy is today.  Let’s each do our part.

Love trumps our personal freedoms

I was thinking about who would most be against mandatory social distancing.  Human rights and social liberties advocates.  I don’t think we’ll be hearing much from them for the next few months. Don’t get me wrong. I love my social freedoms and liberties. Freedom and liberties are something we value in the free world.

Spring Break crowds gathered at Eighth Street beach in Miami Beach last weekend. 

 

The idea of mandatory social distancing would seem to go against the ideals of civil liberties.  One’s personal liberties is something we ought not to abuse. 

Is there a limit to our freedoms?  I would certainly think so. 

Is it a human right to walk around and do anything we want in any or every situation?  I doubt it. 

Freedom is a concept but only a concept when we consider life and death.  To refute the call to social distancing potentially puts many lives at risk by increasing the likelihood of spreading the virus.

If I put my personal freedom ahead of the life of my aging parents or grandparents with weaker immune systems (or yours for that matter) would I then be abusing my personal freedom?  You’d likely say, “Yes”, especially if it were your own grandparents who contracted COVID-19.

This past week during spring break, thousands of young people lined the beaches in Florida.  Later, they were all turned away and told to go home.  Beaches closed.

To me, what these young people did was a flagrant abuse of personal freedoms.  There’s a serious potential of endangering the lives of many people.  Apologies if you were one of these people but I’ve got to say it. Some got around the beach closures by having house parties indoors–away from public eyes–thus, refuting the call for social isolation. Sure you have the freedom to do this, but you could unknowingly pass on the virus to each other and then bring it home to your parents, grandparents or other friends and family members.

If everyone chose to abuse our freedoms and liberties, we would certain become like Italy and surpass their numbers of death. That would be scary.

So is there a limit to personal freedoms?  You bet.

Love for our neighbors is what we need to gauge ourselves by. We need to care for one another by considering the safety of others over our own desires or inconveniences. Love and genuine care and concern for others ought to trump our personal freedoms.