Should I Stay Or Should I Go Now?

Should I stay or should I go now?
Should I stay or should I go now?
If I go, there will be trouble
And if I stay it will be double
So come on and let me know

the Clash

Since the COVID-19 transformed into global pandemic, I sing this song every morning usually after I read the news. That is when I start to panic. And I think we need to leave Florida and return to Canada RIGHT NOW!

Should I stay or should I go now?

We are isolated here. Very few people at our resort. Aside from a couple of bike rides in the immediate area, I haven’t been out of the property for over a week. No symptoms. We feel safe. It is sunny and it is warm. Not a bad spot to stay in place.

And the views from the front of our coach make it hard to think about leaving Myakka River Motorcoach Resort for the cold and wintery conditions in Ontario. Especially knowing that we will need to spend two weeks completely isolated whenever we do cross the border.

The clock is ticking mind you. Our health care coverage expires May 1st. Our 180 days to be in the United States is up on April 28th. We will need to be leaving here within three weeks.

Should I stay or should I go now?

Our Minister of Health is asking for our help when we return. She has a pleasant way of wording things.

Health Minister Patty Hajdu says she’s looking at the option of criminal penalties for Canadian travellers who don’t follow the government’s advice to self-isolate when they return home.

“Let me be perfectly clear. We will use every measure in our tool box at the federal level to ensure compliance … we have measures that could include monetary penalties up to and including criminal penalties,” she said during her daily briefing on Parliament Hill.

“When we say that you must stay at home for 14 days, that means you stay at home for 14 days. You do not stop for groceries, that you do not go visit your neighbours or your friends, that you rest in your house for 14 days. No exceptions.”

The Quarantine Act, which was updated in 2005 after the deadly SARS outbreak, gives the federal health minister the power to designate quarantine zones and fine or jail travellers who disobey quarantine requests.

When I highlighted a concern about government surveillance in this recent post, well, look at what is already taking place in Canada and the United States.

But Forest said [Canada] evoking the Emergencies Act could also allow for more extensive data sharing, including tracing data using smartphone location data. The Washington Post reported last week that the U.S. government is in talks with Facebook, Google and other tech companies about using location data gleaned from mobile phones, including whether people are keeping a safe distance, raising serious questions around privacy. Israel’s government has already approved emergency measures to track people suspected, or confirmed to be infected with monitoring their cellphones, and a mobile-phone based “electronic fence” to keep people quarantined in their homes is one of the measures behind Taiwan’s lauded success in controlling the novel coronavirus.

“There is a lot of pressure on the ground at this moment for tracing purposes if we were able to access the data that not only the carrier but some of the private sector owns,” said Forest, who said he is hearing that some provinces and public health authorities are already trying to negotiate separate deals. “It will be so much better if it was done at a national level.”

“If I were able to have access to your cellphone I will be able to know who you have seen,” he said. “So, if you’re on the isolation list I could know if you had continued meeting people. Or if you’re a confirmed case I could trace by your GPS history where you have been and who you have seen.”

Awesome. Suspend civil liberties. Spy on citizens. All for a worthy cause no doubt. As my financial advisor told me this morning:

In wars, truth is the first casualty. This is war.

No wonder people are fussed. The news is an endless torrent of medical negativity, while common sense tells us the greatest damage to the largest number will be economic. Not sickness. Not death. But job loss on a Biblical scale. In the overall population, the number of infected is tiny. However this has caused a global meltdown. Civil liberties are being stripped away. Citizens have turned into social distance warriors and shamers. National and provincial borders have hardened. I hear people in my little town asking for road blockades. What a shame.

Government intervention to an unprecedented level in my lifetime. I do hope it is worth the carnage.

Should I go or should I stay now?

There is an upside to the social distancing what with most everything shut down. I am learning new skills. What might those new skills be you ask?

Just look at me.

Check out that hairstyle! For the first time in my adult life, I cut my own hair. With some help from Lorraine. It wasn’t that hard to do. I ordered clippers and scissors from Amazon — delivered next day to our site — reviewed a few how-to videos on YouTube and there you have it. A reasonably well-groomed COVID-19 avoider.

Here is the video I followed in case your barbershop is closed or you have been placed into isolation and your hair is getting a bit out of control.

The pandemic in the United States and Canada could well reach epic proportions in the next three weeks. There could be bans on travel. Roadblocks at state and provincial borders. Forced quarantines for travellers returning to Canada in military bases. Martial law. Curfews. Imprisonment for those foolish enough to take their dog for a walk while under orders to remain inside.

What was unthinkable even a few days ago seems probable and even inevitable.

Should I stay or should I go now?

Can’t get that darn song out of my head.

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