Susan D from Ottawa Canada: O Canada

14 October

The final two phrases of our national anthem (repeated for emphasis) are:

         O Canada, we stand on guard for thee,

         O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

Given the current COVID-19 situation, especially in Ontario and Quebec, the most populous provinces, it might better be sung (although grammatically incorrect):

         O Canada, we stand on guard for thee,

         O Canada, we stand not on guard for we.

All summer, as restrictions were relaxed and people went out and about to enjoy their absence, we were cautioned repeatedly not to let down our guard.  It seems that we did.  Restrictions are being reinstated In Ontario and Quebec as the numbers of cases and deaths rise again.  It seems we are moving backward in the fight against the virus.

Over the summer, each long holiday weekend resulted in a spike of infection.  So as the Thanksgiving weekend approached we were cautioned again to take care – no travel and celebration only in the immediate family.  Ottawa’s medical officer reminded us how a gathering can become a super-spreader event.  Of 40 people at an outdoor barbeque, the two who later developed symptoms infected 27 others and 105 people had to stay home and self-isolate – and stand in the long, long lines for testing.

University students were requested to remain on campus for the holiday.   Granddaughter the younger is at a university within driving distance and had thought of coming to Ottawa for Thanksgiving.  She did not.  As she explained, “Ottawa is a red zone and we have been advised not to travel, and certainly not to red zones”.  So we made do with a nice long telephone visit, but she said many students did not heed the advice, and had returned home.  We hope that this behaviour does not result in a significant outbreak at the university, and unpleasant consequences for all.

We do need to stand on guard, not only for our country, but for ourselves and everyone else.

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