A Word from the Self-Isolating

The second day of self-isolation seems to be going well so far, although it was at the bequest of worried family members that we decided to go this route. Let’s face it, we haven’t been to any exotic places recently, other than a quick round-trip to Irish Cove about a week ago, so hopefully, the chances of actually being infected are few or absolutely nada.

However, since we are in the age group that would be more adversely affected than younger folks, should we become infected, say by standing less than an arm’s length from the person in front of us either at Sobeys or Walmart while in search of toilet paper, we acquiesced and here we are, locked down for two weeks, two months, not two years I don’t imagine, but you get the idea. I must say that having the sun shining in does make self-isolation not at all unpleasant.

Seriously though, even in isolation, on most days if I’m honest, the radio, the two newspapers that we read daily (while yes, complaining that both are carrying the same stories), and TV, plus some emailing or phone calls become our sole sources of news, and though we might be sure there’s no way the corona virus is going to search us out, still we are bombarded with news of every spot in the universe where it has become a serious threat to life and limb, with thousands of deaths being reported hourly. The more we watch, the more I confess to feeling a sense of trepidation. It hasn’t made me wash my hands every time I pass the sink, but it has generated in me an anger at those we see on TV who are defiantly refusing to follow the rules as laid out by the health and scientific communities.

Take the video last night of the bar in Ireland where a large group of fools were dancing and laughing their heads off as they defied the warnings about staying at home and paid no heed to the fact that they could be in dangerously close contact with someone who has been infected and doesn’t even know it.

Then there are those who, arriving back from an area where the virus has hit and knowing they have possibly been exposed, ignore the warning to self-isolate for 14 days and tell no one of the danger they pose to others. Good to read today that in the UK they are going to arrest and fine anyone caught disobeying the rules put in place to protect them. If you want to dance and party, gather a few friends, get them tested, them invite them into your home and let ‘er rip!


The Reuters story out of South Korea, though, is enough in itself to make one sit up and take notice of how one unconscionably stupid or willful woman became the coronavirus “Patient 31” in that country:

It’s not clear where Patient 31 became infected with the virus, but in the days before her diagnosis, she travelled to crowded spots in Daegu, as well as in the capital Seoul. On February 6 she was in a minor traffic accident in Daegu, and checked herself into an Oriental medicine hospital. While at that hospital, she attended services at the Daegu branch of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, on February 9 and again on February 16.

In between those visits, on February 15, doctors at the hospital said they first suggested she be tested for the coronavirus, as she had a high fever. Instead, the woman went to a buffet lunch with a friend at a hotel. In an interview with local newspaper JoongAng Ilbo, the woman denied that doctors had advised her to be tested. As her symptoms worsened, however, doctors say they once again advised her to be tested. On February 17, she finally went to another hospital for the test. The next day, health authorities announced she was the country’s 31st confirmed case. In only a matter of days, those numbers had soared as hundreds of people at the Shincheonji Church and surrounding areas tested positive.

The stories of people buying up boatloads of toilet tissue and antiseptic wipes and masks, with no concern for others who may not be financially capable of such shopping trips or who might have had the decency to leave some on the shelves for others, really makes one bemoan the “I’m all right Jack” attitude displayed by some. Some actually bought products to sell them at a profit but I am certain that such people are few and far between. Walmart, at least, has limited the number of items one person may buy. That must have ended the sight of carts full of toilet paper being pushed up to the checkouts.

But just when I thought I had heard everything, comes a story this morning in the Chronicle Herald, that the head of the Nova Scotia Health Authority has asked hospital workers to stop “pilfering” masks and other valuable items required to assist those already in hospital and suffering or recovering from virus cases. Again, a few bad apples exploiting the situation while their fellow workers struggle to keep up with growing numbers of people seeking to be tested for the virus.

Experts are warning us here in Canada to take the spread of COVID-19 very seriously, whether we self-isolate or practice separation if we must be out and about. One such expert, in conversation with Wendy Mesley on CBC, made it very clear that unless we want to run the chance of becoming another Italy, we should follow all the rules those in the know are issuing. School and daycare closures, calls for fewer than 10 people sharing any space, cancellation of church services, bars and restaurants closing down, no more Hockey Night in Canada, all of these measures are designed to protect the population from falling victim to this very easily transmitted virus.

Italy has experienced the deaths of more than 1,800 people while we are in what is referred to as a “quiet period” which could easily become so much worse if we don’t adhere to the rules as they are set out. I hope the seriousness of the situation is not lost on us as we go about our daily lives, doing our part to avoid what has become a true catastrophe in so many places around the world.

So wash your hands often (and for 20 seconds) and don’t touch your face. Do whatever is necessary to remain COVID-19-free!



Dolores Campbell, a lifelong resident of Sydney, is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in The Cape Breton Highlander, the Nova Scotian, Cape Breton Magazine, Catholic New Times and The Cape Breton Post.