Credit for the Featured Image to Chris Moet
“The oak fought the wind and was broken, the willow bent when it must and survived.”
― Robert Jordan, The Fires of Heaven
Effects of COVID-19 in Ontario
Here in Southwest Ontario, we’re really beginning to feel the effects of the infamous COVID-19 pandemic, and I grow slightly more anxious by the day. There are around 3,000 confirmed cases in Ontario now, but that number is supposed to be much lower than the reality due to a lack of testing and the probability of asymptomatic carriers. Ontario’s death toll right now is just under 60 or so, but again, this is thought to be higher since many people die from complications of COVID-19 and are not documented properly.
My life has become a cycle of news intake, baby-time, more news intake, food-time, more news and then sleep. I go on my favourite social media app Reddit, and it’s all about the coronavirus; I hit up late-night shows and it’s coronavirus; I go to the grocery store and I’m reminded of the severity of the situation; I see people lined up in long queues outside of the businesses that remain opened–6ft apart–and it looks kind of freaky.
Part of me finds this all so surreal, to the point that I feel as though I’ve disassociated from my body. The few raindrops that hint at a coming storm haven’t made me realize the impending disaster here, but I see our neighbours in New York suffering and I know it’s only a matter of time. The Canadian government has done a pretty good job of buying our country time though and took responsible steps to reduce as many casualties as possible. The government’s taking pretty good care of us with emergency benefits being offered to the average person even if they do not qualify for unemployment benefits. Small businesses and larger businesses are being looked after as well. As Canadians, we should definitely all be very grateful for our government’s response.
My living situation feels pretty secure too; I’m just at home a lot since my daughter’s daycare has closed. I’ve taken some time off of work to watch her while her mother (who is a nurse) continues to work a lot of shifts. I’m only a labourer for a plastic packaging company while I work on my studies, so, it’s neither glorious nor important. But Ontario considers my job an essential service none-the-less. I see the necessity for food production to keep going during this pandemic too, but my factory creates plastic packaging for chocolates, Nutella and other unhealthy snacks loaded with sugar and lacking in nutrients. I have a friend who works at a place that makes decorative stones and this is also considered essential. There’s a long list of essential services in Ontario, but I just heard today that they’ve expanded on it and are tightening restrictions tomorrow.
Toilet paper has also become a rare commodity here like in most other Western countries, I won’t be surprised if we’re charged by the square wipe soon. People fear scarcity when danger lurks, I guess. Finding foods in the grocery stores that won’t spoil can be tricky too–like french fries, frozen fruits and veggies–but luckily I’ve managed a nice little stockpile for myself. I always feel like I have enough for weeks and then three days later I start to run out of things that I’d forgotten about. Grocery stores can have long lines outside of them just in order to get into the buildings because the managers must limit the occupancy of its customers (this is also true of beer stores and some of the more ethical corporations). The stores sometimes offer hand sanitizing stations at the front and people avoid each other as best as possible in the aisles. Cashiers have plastic screens to protect them a little bit and some wear plastic gloves.
I dared to enter a dollar store–which is still considered an essential service–and bought a few things to try to entertain my daughter with this weekend. It didn’t seem like any special regulations were in place, no tape on the floor, plastic shields or bouncer at the front door. The girl that I spoke with behind the register told me that she had to buy her own pair of gloves but the company provided hand sanitizer. The unethical management of some companies is really becoming apparent.
Many working-class Canadians are angered by this pandemic since the wealthy have been sheltering in relative security while those paid the bare minimum are forced to continue working in dangerous conditions. The inequality produced by unregulated capitalism is really beginning to shine through around the world. For many Canadians, this kind of social support we are being provided now is the best that we’ve had in years. And it’s slightly maddening to know that this could have always been the case, rather than filling the coffers of the wealthy, we could have been sheltering the homeless, supporting the unemployed with more flexibility, and providing for those staying home to maintain parental duties.
On the bright side though, the world’s CO2 emissions have dropped rapidly and humanity is temporarily combatting climate change unintentionally. Perhaps it will wake some people up or at least provides more evidence to support the fact that we need to start doing what’s right for the world–and for the bulk of humanity–now! My American neighbours down south, being offered a measly 1200$ of social support which, will be taken out of their taxes at the end of the year, makes me incredibly angry for them. I really wish that we could help you guys more, and I wish you had more competent leadership right now. This world desperately needs a revolution for the working class and I continue waiting for people to wake the hell up so we can begin. Something has to change soon, within the next decade.
My heart goes out to all of you who are struggling right now or are effected by COVID-19, especially my American neighbours who are feeling the worst of this now. You all truly deserve much better from your leadership; like health care provided for all residents. You all deserve higher wages to be able to provide for your families and a more robust social security net. You also deserve politicians that don’t take bribes from corporate interests blatantly and without repercussions. Our governments need to provide a moral compass as leadership for its citizens. When the government lacks morality, the system begins to collapse over time. I hope the world stops favouring these far-right isolationist ideologies now and begins to understand the importance of helping one another and working towards common interests again.
I’ve also read that Iran, China and Russia have formed a coalition now, setting the stage to become the world’s next superpower (or so they claim). That just might happen given that the backbone of the Western world has been deteriorating over polarized national conflicts. I really hope we are able to pull together or else we could all find ourselves in a different kind of world soon.
Anyways, that’s my rant and my update from here in Canada. Wishing you all good health and I hope that you stay safe. Shelter in place and keep on blogging.