Just My Opinion By Ruby Truax
In his address to Canadians this morning, our Prime Minister seemed frustrated by the impression that some Canadians are ignoring his orders about social distancing and self-isolation, and threatened us with fines and even arrest in order to enforce his directives. And while it’s true that there are those among us who are deliberately flouting the best practice guidelines, I believe that there are others who just don’t understand what is expected of them.
Our leaders have a fondness for creating new terminology that is not always clear or specific, and I think many of us are unclear about what the terms “self-isolation” and “social distancing” actually mean. (Our leaders apparently realized this themselves when they changed the latter to “physical distancing”.)
Rather than lash out at the hoi polloi who may not have caught up with the latest new terminology created by the elite, our Prime Minister would do better to have a fireside chat with us about what these new expressions mean specifically, with concrete examples.
If we’ve been out of the country within the past month, then we’re ordered to “self-isolate” for 14 days once we get home. That means quarantine. In other words, stay home alone and don’t leave the house unless there’s an emergency. No grocery shopping, nothing. Have friends drop off what we need or have it delivered. No direct contact with anyone. That means don’t touch anyone, and stay six feet away from everyone when you talk to them. Stay home alone for two weeks. That’s “self-isolation”.
For the rest of us, if we haven’t been exposed to the virus, we’re ordered to practice “social distancing” (or “physical distancing”). That means no gatherings of over 50 people, but we can still interact with small groups of friends, and can still go to work if necessary. Our kids can still play in the yard, we can still walk the dog. We just need to stay at arm’s length from people if we are out in the community, and no hugging or shaking hands. We should also be washing our hands frequently and not touching our eyes, nose or mouth unless we’ve just washed our hands.
There’s been some public shaming in our community, partly out of fear, but largely because some people don’t understand exactly what is expected of us. Instead of scolding and threatening us, our leaders need to stop with their fanciful vernacular and speak clearly to us about what we should be doing to slow the spread of this virus.