“All we can do is do our best to stay as safe as possible, but it is certainly nerve-wracking,” said Grace Gonzalez, Houston resident and Toronto native.
Texas surpassed 5,000 hospitalizations last week, the second largest state to cut back on its aggressive opening strategy, ordering bars and restaurants to be closed indefinitely to reduce capacity.
In Houston, where Gonzalez has lived for eight years, the level of public threat was raised to its highest level on Friday.
“I was in shock when they decided to open Texas, I thought it was too early,” said Gonzalez. “We have never seen a dip … there was no flattening of the curve before they decided to reopen. ”
Gonzalez said the masks have not been widely used in recent weeks and many have resumed their lives as if everything has returned to normal. But she stayed at home most of the time, while making limited trips to stores.
“I have a feeling that a lot of the mentality (here) is that if you feel sick or if you are in one of these immunocompromised groups, you have to stay at home, but if I am in good health, why should i stay at home? »» Said Gonzalez.
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This question of individual versus collective good is something that Ontario-born Cheryl Applebaum noticed in Florida, where more and more young people have been infected. The state set a record on Saturday with more than 9,500 cases.
Authorities moved to shuttered beaches and discouraged rallies at a bar in a state that killed more than 3,300 people in COVID-19.
“It really increased our level of anxiety,” said Applebaum, who lives in the Tampa area.
Applebaum was born in Windsor, Ontario, grew up in Toronto and lived in the United States for over 20 years with her Canadian husband.
“My husband and I are in the most vulnerable age group, we are both elderly and we have been very conscientious about social estrangement, wearing face covers, proper hygiene when we go out and get in, ”said Applebaum. “And seeing some people in grocery stores relaxing these things was very disconcerting. ”
Applebaum recognizes that the situation makes him think a lot about Canada these days.
“To be honest, this (COVID-19) in conjunction with the political climate here has made us seriously think about going backwards,” said Applebaum.
Not everyone is worried
However, not all Canadians living in the United States are overly concerned.
Ken Moon, who lives in a town just north of Dallas, says the situation is exaggerated on both sides of the border.
“Others may choose to say you have to hide forever and do nothing, but that’s not the way we live,” said Moon, a native of southeastern Ontario who discovered by serological tests he had had COVID-19 in February. , with milder symptoms, despite other health problems.
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Moon said he thought the largest number in recent days was more the result of increased testing. He says the only real change in his everyday life is to wear a mask.
“This is what it is, the most important thing is to keep infected people away from elderly care facilities,” said Moon.
Moon said he was not opposed to the Texas reopening plan, noting that some acquaintances in Canada had not left their homes for months.
“I don’t know where this idea of full quarantine came from, but that’s what they do, and it’s kind of like” Why are you doing this? “Said Moon.
Pandemic varies in the United States
As in Canada, the circumstances of COVID-19 vary from country to country.
The Florida situation was worrisome enough for Ontario-born Laurie Turley-Michel, who returned early to her summer home in Ohio, feeling that residents of Sunshine State were in denial of COVID- 19.
“I was personally afraid of going out at all,” said Turley-Michel, who has been in the United States for 15 years. “It wasn’t until just before we decided to go back to Ohio that they put in place a home stay order, but it didn’t last long. Florida was one of the first to reopen. “
She works in a law firm where employees work mainly remotely and clients are forced to wear a mask for meetings. Turley-Michel stayed largely at home. other than going to the grocery store or essential purchases. She always wears a mask in public.
“We haven’t had a family here, we live in a rural area, so it’s easier to keep a social distance,” said Turley-Michel.
Amy Williams, who lives in a small town near the Arizona-Mexico border, where cases have been weak, said she was optimistic when the closings in March in her home state and home province from Ontario took place at almost the same pace.
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“Ontario and Arizona issued foreclosure orders within two or three days of each other, and then I felt that in terms of cases, we were on the same course as Ontario , then our governor decided to open things up, “said Williams, a Mississauga native. who will have to postpone an annual summer trip home due to mandatory quarantine measures.
Arziona registered 3,858 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday. Ontario, with almost double the population, had 178.
Williams, a mother of two who works as a psychologist in the local school system, said her main concern was how the schools would reopen when August returned to this state in the midst of the outbreak.
“I just don’t see how we’re going to be able to not only prepare physically for the reopening, but also mentally,” said Williams.
“I don’t know what it’s going to look like. “