Love In The Time of Cholera

Tony Ollivier
4 min readApr 14, 2020

Yesterday, we foraged for flour, eggs and sliced ham at a Vancouver Costco. Civil lineups, lots of hand sanitizer and diligent, sign-wielding employees reminding people to social distance. I flashed my Costco card and the door employee waved us in. No temperature check or mask required. Hand sanitizer at the many stations but still optional.

Vancouver’s Covid-19 rate has been flattening so the probability that an active carrier is in the store would be low.

But not zero, and that was the issue.

After we left the store with our Costco grocery buy high score, I felt icky. Wishing-for-a-decontamination-station icky. Now, four weeks after the start of the lock-down, I feel icky any time I leave my house for air, exercise or more food.

image courtesy of Pixabay

Safety guidance is also somewhat conflicted. Wear a mask all the time, or maybe only when you have symptoms. Wash your vegetables in soap and water. No... wait... wash with water only. Wipe all your purchases down and throw the bread in a plastic bin. No... wait... no evidence of the virus passing via canned goods. But washing your hands is always a good idea, even before the plague hit.

The world however is strangely united. The only other thing event that could have done the same would be an Independence Day style alien invasion. An invasion has happened, but sneakier, smaller and no CGI. Transmitting the virus without showing symptoms? That’s sneaky.

But after this thing, what happens? Will it be eradicated or will we have Covid season every year? Tinder might mandate posting a government vaccination certificate on your profile and Facebook might be full of people showing off their polio vaccine-like scars on their left arm. Masks might be here to stay like in Japan. I’m already searching Amazon for masks to match my blazer when I’m once allowed to attend a meeting with people that aren’t my immediate family.

Maybe I should just make sure it matches my shoes.

All humor aside. Social scientists are predicting a different world, but the impact of the new reality might not be pretty. Some countries are…