British Columbia’s Premier John Horgan made international headlines with a public plea for help from Canadian actors Ryan Reynolds and Seth Rogen last week, but the initiative has gone over like a lead balloon. It was assumed the actors would influence young people to maintain social distancing and abide by pandemic restrictions regarding large gatherings.
Both actors responded, but from news reports their appearances on social media were ignored; large parties increased at nightspots and beaches in Vancouver and other B.C. cities at the weekend. Health authorities report that new COVID-19 cases have risen steeply among the 20-to-29 age group, who were identified as the main scofflaws.
Paul Begala, a top advisor to President Bill Clinton said: “Politics is show-business for ugly people,” and I’m always leery when elected officials try for entertainers’ stardust to rub off on them. Reynolds joked in his response that his mother who lives in Vancouver would “probably be scoping Kits Beach for a 30-year-old, doing her Mrs. Robinson thing,” adding that he didn’t want his mother, nor anyone else, to get sick or die.
Then came Seth Rogen’s very predictable response: “Just stay home and smoke weed.”
The B.C. government should forget the razzle-dazzle and razzmatazz of Hollywood, and get just as serious as other jurisdictions like Melbourne, Australia and Auckland, New Zealand where city-wide lockdowns were re-imposed when COVID-19 cases from community spread took a sudden uptick.
Maybe they could get young British Columbian’s attention by sending out a medical health alarm, similar to the tsunami warning which can be transmitted to all cellphones.
We know the pandemic is treated differently by governments around the world, and we must take note of what other countries are doing, both good and bad.
The twin-island Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago had a strict lockdown that coincided with ours here in Canada, their borders were closed and only eight deaths occurred, with the curve being kept very flat. Last week, however, there were three more deaths and several more new cases through community spread; the government re-imposed strict lockdown of beaches, bars, restaurants, clubs, religious gatherings, etc, with immediate effect.
There is a saying in Trinidad that sums up the situation perfectly: “Take in front, before in front takes you”.