Don’t panic about American travelers

A new poll says a staggering 81% of Canadians want to keep the Canada-US border closure renewed at the end of the month.

I can’t imagine why.

This chart should be used in every Joe Biden campaign ad.

We Canadians have flattened the COVID-19 curve, while infections south of the border are skyrocketing. This CNN report explains some of the reasons why:

Until the Americans get their act together, I agree wholeheartedly that the border should remain restricted to entry. That said, I’m detecting a hint of moral panic in the air about Americans who have entered the country.

On social media I’m seeing people call for locking down the border entirely, reporting American licence plates to the police, and many, many variations on an apocryphal story about American tourists visiting a restaurant and gloating to their waitress about how easy it was to lie their way across the border. Some drivers with American (or even out-of-province) licence plates are being harassed.

To be sure, here in Atlantic Canada, a small resurgence of cases have been linked to an American visitor who didn’t self-isolate. Some travelers from Minnesota to Ontario have been charged for not following quarantine rules. Needless to say, anyone coming here who doesn’t follow our rules should be punished for it.

But if there’s a massive surge of Americans coming here and blatantly flouting our rules, it isn’t yet reflected in our case numbers. Maybe next week will be different and we’ll start seeing COVID-19 cases in Canada take off, but so far it looks like most Americans coming here have been following the rules. Or, there just aren’t nearly as many coming here as social media would have you believe.

Part of the reason cases have exploded in Florida is because of complacency. The virus initially didn’t hit the state as hard as people expected, so Floridians let their guard down. (See this blog post, which aged like fine milk. If our cases do skyrocket in the coming months, and the outbreak is linked to Americans, we’ll know for sure that the Damian Penny curse is very real.)

I’m concerned that the same thing is happening here in Nova Scotia. Whenever I go out to stores or the gym, hardly anyone is wearing a mask. If you’re really worried about a new outbreak, covering your face is much more effective than looking for foreign licence plates.

One thought on “Don’t panic about American travelers

  1. M says:

    From US citizens harassing their Asian fellow citizens for Covid, to Canadians harassing Americans, and everything that has occurred in between…: logical thinking seems to be a thing of the past in more places than the United States. (A short and – hallelujah!! – logical opinion of how the general state of know-it-allism originated in today’s Bulwark: https://mailchi.mp/thebulwark/were-doomed-319950?e=457384b544). A sense of what constitutes well-founded knowledge, along with good manners, respect for others, and an appropriate sense of humility, seems to be falling by the wayside in all of this. Unfortunately for these folks, infectious organisms are stopped by the consistent application of scientific fact and common sense, not social media whims. We seem to be doing all right in the Maritimes just about now, and should be following that up with care and good sense, instead of potentially throwing our good outcomes to the wind by becoming incautious just as we’re seeing success. Patience and a long-term approach are the way to go here. Barring that, perhaps we should be stocking up on masks and sanitizer before numbers start rising and people once again become conscious that the virus is an actual risk. Realistically, this virus is not going away anytime soon, if at all.

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