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Are You Sick of COVID-19?

Some Acton residents are tired of pandemic restrictions, while others are in agreement

I encountered recently-retired Mark Finnegan while walking his dog Apollo on Mill St. East. Although he said his lifestyle is not hugely impacted by the restrictions.

“There's no medical reason for the shutdown, they way they handled it,” he stated. “The tests are skewed, the mortality rate is not any higher than any other disease, and a lot of the tests don't work. I’m sick and tired of news media recounting the numbers of cases, and then handing it over to a panel of so-called experts who do nothing but dispute the veracity of the numbers.”

However, the pandemic proscriptions hit closer to home for Sarah Patrick, a mother of two young children pushing a stroller through Prospect Park. “We're out of the house early this morning trying to find something to do while daddy sleeps—he's on the night shift.”

Patrick mentioned that it is hard for her to walk past the taped-off playground with her children. “The best thing is to stay calm around the kids. But we're going stir-crazy at home. There's going to be some unrest soon. The emergency act should be over by now. It's been 13 weeks and there is no emergency.”

Next I encountered Tom and Karen from Georgetown, finishing up a set with some friends at the Prospect Park tennis courts. (They did not want to give their full names) “The hardest part is not being able to see our grand kids,” said Karen. “Everyone needs social interaction. I'm totally against [the lock down].”

The couple have been visiting their grandkids from a distance, as well as using social media to stay in touch. “I've been reading to the grandkids over Zoom,” said Tom. “But the problems is that it's all a big over-reaction. As many people die every year from the normal flu. The mortality rate for COVID-19 is 0.26 percent, and the mortality rate for SARS was 9 percent, the mortality rate for the flu vaccine is 0.6 percent, so you have more chance of dying from flu vaccine as you do from COVID.”

“It's an over-reaction.,” Karen agreed. “The hardest hit people are the small businesses, it's almost criminal making them shut down.”

91 year-old Aldo Braida, an Acton lawyer who practices in Guelph, takes a slightly different view. “I think opening them up [local businesses] too soon, is going to be a bit of a mistake. Especially in the States where the number of people with it has gone up significantly,” he said.

For the most part, Braida says he's hardly affected. “I still go shopping when I need to, and I'm still going to work every day. But my nephew, who is going to take over my business, has all his staff working at home and the dentist offices are all closed. It's inconvenient more than anything. I haven't been to church because it's been closed and I miss playing cornet with the Acton Citizens' Band which was something I looked forward to every week.”

On the other hand, 71 year-old Acton resident Isobel Skinner Watkinson is a fervid believer in social distancing and mask technology. “From the research I've done it's the sanitizing of everything that's so important. We have to act with deep concern and caution. I'm 71, I have multiple sclerosis, and I'm on a medication which lowers my immune system,” she said. “I am passionate about not picking up somebody's selfish donation of germs because they're not wearing a mask. When I wear a mask, it's not so much to protect me, but to protect other people from getting something I might have picked up.”

Watkinson even makes her own non-medical grade masks from the colourful fabric she's collected. She's made 120 so far, and they are available on her front porch with a suggested $3 donation to cover materials.

She's also involved with an organization, comprised of a legion of sewers across Canada making masks, headbands and scrub caps. “Last week I dropped off 70 headbands and 20 masks and they're shipped where ever they're needed, some of which go to isolated northern communities,” she said. “Hundreds of people are involved in this. Some people are donating buttons, someone else is making buttons with a 3D printer. You can imagine for those 70 headbands I needed 140 buttons.”

Watkinson said she's probably spending more time on social media with her friends and grandkids than before the pandemic. “Our sewing group used to have regular “knit and natter” meetings at someone's house and now we do it once a week on video. It's just the same really, we sit and eat our lunch and chat,” she said.

“I'm probably less lazy now. I have friends who have some anxiety because of this but I'm not inclined that way. This is how we're going to get through this, and if I can do my bit, all the better.”

Are you getting sick of COVID-19?


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