Especially these days… you know what’s worse than no WiFi? Crappy WiFi. Where the email kind of crawls in, but the attachment is now stuck and won’t refresh. Where you swipe down on Instagram, and it just hangs there forever. Where the webpage only half-loaded and managed to lock-up the browser. Where you need to get onto that Zoom meeting but it won’t connect. Or when it connects, you’re getting two frames per second and your face looks like the guy from Minecraft.
Such has been my day, trying to do all of this… outside! But the trade-off in quality and quantity of this post is offset by all the glorious sunshine I managed to absorb, so we’ll call it even. And ZoomHanging with some friends, some of whom I hadn’t seen in 10 years.
But I should point out that I did my outside gig — at home, in my yard, where social distancing is imposed by fences, hedges and the laws that apply to private property. Unlike some of the pictures and videos I saw from yesterday evening.
A stunning sunset by any definition, the sort where last year we’d all run down to English Bay or Spanish Banks and soak it all in. Except that this isn’t last year and things are a lot different. Or, should be a lot different, but judging from what I’ve seen of last night, there is a large part of the population that seems to have had enough, and to hell with restrictions and social distancing and everything else. It looked like the typical crowd getting ready to see the fireworks. It looked like a lackadaisical attitude of “We’ve had enough” coupled with “I’m young and healthy” coupled with “Even if I get this, outcomes around here are exceedingly optimistic” coupled with “I probably had this already and am immune.”
The combination of that will lead to — well, I have no crystal ball. We seem to have been spared the worst of it, around here, for now. It doesn’t take a lot to radically change that, and this entire thing is evolving very differently all around the planet. We’re doing very well around here — a world-class example when measured against other comparables — in fact, in populations of 5 million or greater, we are amongst the best on the planet, if not number one. This is the sort of false confidence that can lead to real trouble as the Summer drags on, as the heat sticks around, as the curve stays sort of flat but… annoyingly, still new cases popping up… and then the fall hits, and the second wave that’s looming on the horizon… which everyone seems to agree will be bad in some places. The question, of course, is where.
I have been following South Korea from the start; they are a good model to follow, and if you’ve been looking at my charts for any period of time, you’ll have seen that black line flat, and far below everything else. Five days ago, their new test-positive counts were +3, +2 and +4 for a few days. And in the last two days, they’ve been +12 and +18. They’ve had a flare-up, which started in a nightclub or two. South Korea, from the start, has managed things with massive testing and contact tracing, so it will be interesting to see how well they can contain this. Hopefully it flares down as quickly as it flared up. In a perfect world, it’ll get squashed right down, but… nightclubs? A hot, enclosed environment where people are sweating and breathing heavily in close proximity? We shall see.
Unfortunately, as we well-know, there’s a 14-day lag to know for sure. That’s in South Korea, and that’s also around here. We won’t know what effect, if any, the beach-crowding from last night will have. Or, tonight’s expected beach-crowding. Or tomorrow’s. Or next weekend’s long weekend. The problem with that is that neither outcome is great. If nothing bad comes of it, as in we don’t see a big rise in numbers, that will empower the “See? No big deal” crowds and it will become harder and harder to convince people to stick to it… and when people stop enforcing upon themselves what’s in the best interest of the greater good, we all suffer the consequences…. especially when September/October and the possible second wave all roll in.
Or, these numbers do generate a visible spike in positive tests… in which case the business re-openings and social relaxations… the phases 2, 3 and 4… all get pushed back until we have numbers which align with when those things should happen. And if you want to see what happens when rules get relaxed when the numbers aren’t where they should be, the U.S. will be providing many examples in the weeks to come.
For now, great day all across Canada… declining numbers everywhere… but now is not the time to irresponsibly give back all we’ve gained from all the sacrifices we’ve collectively made over the last couple of months. It seems a lot of people don’t understand that and/or don’t care. The effects of that remain to be seen.