The general public, thinking the first wave of the pandemic was over, returned to business as usual. Rejected suggestions to wear masks. They gathered publicly against government restrictions, some for the first time in months, celebrating a glorious summer from one end of Canada to the next.
Then the second wave appeared, and it was four times worse than the first. The vast majority of fatalities linked to the virus occurred during the second wave.
If any of this sounds familiar, it should. With most of Canada now into Phase 3 of a ‘return to normal’ following strict lockdown measures put in place to try to combat the spread of COVID-19, we could learn a lot of lessons from the flu pandemic that swept the globe between 1918-20, killing millions. In Canada, roughly 55,000 died from the flu pandemic – about the same as were lost in World War I.
Some sports are back, too, with extreme health and security measures taken to hopefully avoid something like what happened to the Montreal Canadiens during the 2019 Stanley Cup. (If you pretend the Miami Marlins don’t exist, so far so good, I guess.)
We could learn lessons. But we’re so conditioned to the state of life as we knew it that we’re failing ourselves. We dream about international air travel this year. Make plans in spite of all the warnings. We gather in public places, crowded with people, under the assumption that all of us must be feeling absolutely fine if we’re out, and are therefore safe from contracting the virus. We don’t wear masks, assuming they won’t help anyway, because of an opinion spouted by someone we want to believe, instead.
Herman Cain, conservative businessman and former Republican presidential candidate, made these assumptions. He attended a Trump campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma June 20th – the rally has been linked to several new infections in the area, per health officials – and tested positive June 29th. By July 1st, his symptoms required hospitalization, and today his loved ones mourn his loss. It’s devastating for his family, but ultimately there is a sense it all could have been avoided.
Herman Cain attended Trump’s Tulsa “rally” with 6000 others. Few wore masks. All cheered wildly as Trump bragged about his conquest of the West Point ramp and drinking water with two hands for 45 minutes. Cain contracted the virus soon after. Today, he is dead. It wasn’t worth it
— Steve Schmidt (@SteveSchmidtSES) July 30, 2020
There is nothing that Herman Cain and I agreed on. But my God can we please stop with masks being a political statement? Wear a damn mask. I beg of you.
Rest In Peace, Mr. Cain. https://t.co/kNW820FrpM
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) July 30, 2020
I wish you all would just listen. We don’t have to be losing lives.
— Brunette Bohemian (@Rae_volution) July 30, 2020
It’s not nice to make fun of dead people. So I’m not going to make a joke about Mr. Herman Cain.
Instead, I’m going to beg the GOP to stop killing yourselves. pic.twitter.com/mnYGWQsfRG
— Chip Franklin (@chipfranklin) July 30, 2020
Herman Cain died so this guy could prove to his cult that he could drink water with one arm pic.twitter.com/DgWYPiyZF9
— Albert MacGloan ➐ (@AlbertMacGloan) July 30, 2020
Whether or not Cain, a 74-year-old cancer survivor, contracted COVID-19 at Trump’s much-maligned campaign rally, he attended several crowded public events in the week leading up to his positive test, according to his own representatives. Never in a mask. Always pushing the GOP’s back-to-business stance. Outright ignoring the recommendations of highly trained, world-renowned virologists working for the CDC.
May Herman Cain rest in peace, and may we, the healthy masses who assume this virus can’t touch us, won’t stop us, seek to learn lessons that could honestly include simply listening to medical professionals before politicians (actual professionals, not Dr. freaking Phil!), and getting real used to video chatting with our family and friends.