Lent 17: PlagueWatch2020

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It should surprise no one that I found the patron saint invoked against The Plague: St. Roch. Totally found him by accident. I was looking for a particular story about saints that are associated with animals. Not, like how St. Francis is the general Saint of flora and fauna. St. Roch (not the story I was looking for originally, but fortuitous find nonetheless) is also the patron of dogs. That’s good to know. In any case, back in the day, when Roch showed up, the Plague disappeared. Note to self: maybe add a few rounds of  “St. Roch, pray for us” to the daily dailies.

In the wake of (or maybe in an attempt to get out in front of) the Covid19 pandemic that’s burning around the world right now, there are words in our vocabulary that there weren’t even a week ago. Social distancing. Flattening the curve. A month ago, people around the world thought it was just The Flu. Way Not The Flu. This is unprecedented in our lifetimes. So pro sports are on hiatus. Theatre companies on Broadway and in Toronto, Stratford Festival and Shaw have shuttered the theatres. Schools are cancelled for 3 weeks; museums and galleries and recreation centers and public libraries are closed. March break programs are cancelled. My employer (and many others) have instituted a work-from-home policy for the next 3 weeks. My Aunt’s retirement home is quarantined and under lock-down – they don’t have it, and they don’t want it. Child’s military campus is the same. Pedestrian gates are now locked. They’re locked in and no one is permitted on or off the campus for 3 weeks.

I’ve had every company that I’ve ever given my email send me something telling me what measures they’re taking to stop the spread. But the thing is, this only works if everyone does their part and doesn’t wander around running the risk of contracting or sharing this thing.

RC kids have some pretty serious dogma about our behaviour, centered around what God says is right. Still, I know other non-religious people who are still spiritual who have many of the same tenets of morality. Some people identify with a Don’t-Kill-Don’t-Steal morality, others adhere to the Golden Rule (whatever that means at any given time). In the interests of this latter, I’ve gotten flu shots. But I live with someone who feels like since he doesn’t get sick, he doesn’t need a flu shot. I’ve never gotten the flu, but I know that I can still be a carrier, so I get it to help my herd avoid it. As I said, this isn’t all y’all’s regular old flu (which still kills people every year), and there’s no one with immunity.

This is different. My gentleman associate works for a company that’s being cavalier with their employee’s health. They aren’t implementing any restrictions on travel (beyond, I guess, what the government is putting up for them); they don’t have any social distancing measures in place. They don’t have any increased cleaning schedules. So because they’re being cavalier with my gentleman associate’s risk of exposure, I have to counter that irresponsibility with vigilant responsibility. There is a conduit into my house that I can’t do anything about. So I need to make sure that I lessen the infection vectors out of my house.

This Lent (and for as long as this takes), may I consider how my behaviour impacts others, and may I act in the best interest of my family, herd, and community. St Roch, pray for us.

Good health, friends. Please be as vigilant as you can.

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