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GUEST OPINION: COVID-19 again?

Letters to the Editor
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Gary Walker
Guest opinion


It's September and COVID-19 is racing and raging around the world. 

Not P.E.I., yet, thanks to our physical isolation and our health rules. But it’s trying hard to sneak in. We know that the virus does not slow down except if we make it. Sounds ridiculous —

"Follow social distancing, wash your hands and disinfect areas shared by others"; "Wear a mask indoors to protect yourself and others."

That’s it? It sounds like a child’s game. It sounds so simple that we hardly need to bother. And many are bothering less, even as flare-ups  keep popping up everywhere daily. Why do you think everyone wants to come to P.E.I.? It’s still safer here.

It’s not that serious? Well, death is serious. Nearly 200,000 deaths in U.S. alone — four times more than American deaths in the Vietnam war. But what about “COVID light," if you could call it that? Go to the internet and watch these two Canadians who recovered — just type in ctvnews.ca/you-don-t-want-to-experience-this-. Legitimate and illegimate protests, the flu season, poverty and ignorance are helping weave a COVID web that could tear society apart.

Forget the prostitution of television ads: “Now that things are back to normal ...” to sell trucks, cars, anything. Sports, theatres — normal? 

Why write this? Because schools are opening. We are using an old model of education and hoping (praying?) it will work. How can it? If you put your hand on a hot stove, you don’t have to put the other hand on to see how it works.

Remember the one-room schoolhouse? All grades together, children helping other children? We changed from that and survived. As a parent and former teacher, I would home school or form safe teaching bubbles, and use disinfected shared facilities. Doesn't anyone watch the news of other provinces?

This is the time to have real leadership. For the time being, forget tourism, forget wasting money on roundabouts, forget gifts to large companies. Concentrate only on what Islanders need to survive — mentally, physically and economically, and start now. Today. Help the disabled, and those who cannot help themselves. One-and-a-half million dollars to a weak soccer tourism return, and Pat and the Elephant always in the hole. We need new, different industry to provide the essentials that the world will need in the future. Think. We need leaders who can use their heads. At the moment we are still playing footsie. Hoping, hoping. We are in a very fragile bubble, on the verge on becoming a sieve.

There are coffee shops, stores and other places I, my family and friends, do not enter. The employees are not wearing masks and not disinfecting enough. We may never be back.

"Invasion of privacy — you can’t tell me what to do"? Get serious, leave your precious phone at home. You’re tracking yourself. Too much tinkering, too much talking — almost too late. I hate to use the hackneyed term, but we need a new paradigm — a new way of thinking. Time has run out on our old way of life. Adapt or die — Darwin's law. If we make serious changes here on P.E.I., we might begin a new world model. If.

Gary Walker is a former educator who lives in Charlottetown.

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