In Ontario, COVID cases are sprouting like dandelions in the spring. Two of the party leaders are self-isolating. Martin Regg Cohn writes:
The Green Party’s Mike Schreiner disclosed his positive result just two days after sharing the stage with his counterparts in Monday’s televised debate. Horwath tweeted out her sympathies and good wishes to Schreiner, but by the next morning similar sympathy tweets were coming her way.
What’s notable is how little notice they both attracted. Fleeting stories and ephemeral headlines, to be sure, but their campaigns went on because the show goes on (as with other politicians across Canada and around the world who caught COVID before them — premiers and PMs, presidents and the Queen).
Holed up in her airport hotel room, sinuses stuffed up, Horwath assured supporters and reporters at her next scheduled event that the party had contingency plans for precisely such an eventuality. Beamed in via Zoom, the NDP leader appeared at a Sault Ste. Marie photo-op promising she was still a contender, thanks to vaccines and Tylenol.
The Greens’ Schreiner, too, has kept up his hectic schedule — off the campaign trail but online. No more staged arrivals in electric vehicles painted green in the party’s official colour scheme.
The takeaway message — despite the political script blaming Ford’s Progressive Conservatives for COVID claiming so many lives — is that life goes on. Schreiner was essentially asymptomatic, while Horwath had nagging throat and headache symptoms.
They talked about how other Ontarians had been far less lucky in their pandemic afflictions, and deserving of paid sick days. But the two leaders stayed on the job — living proof of living with COVID, and that democracy must also live on.
Meanwhile, as Monkeypox spreads, public health officials have suggested that we follow the same portocols that we have used for COVID. But fewer and fewer of us are following them. We have succumbed to that other monkey virus.