Millroy: Short-term Pain for Long-term Gain


It is a little family time as I sit down at my computer to write this today, not the visiting sort, just some thoughts on how some members of my family are handling the COVID-19 coronavirus which is shaking the world.

They have bought in fully that we are in a crisis.

Not all, of course, have. Some out there are continuing to treat the virus as an annoyance, rather than the killer it is.

It has gotten to the point where the Ontario government felt it necessary to issue an emergency alert, my cell phone pumping it out as I sit here.

It reads:
“Stop the spread. COVID-19 can be deadly.
“Everyone but essential workers should stay at home.
“Only go out if it is absolutely necessary to pick up groceries, prescriptions or go to medical appointments. Ignoring self-isolation or physical distancing can endanger lives.
“Protect yourself and others. Stay home.”

It is a message that shouldn’t be necessary, but it was forced on the government by those who can’t seem to accept the restrictions upon them that most of us already have.

Actually, in the United States even some governors are not forcing the issue and in Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was saying, as of this writing, that he was leaning on restrictions provinces have put in place rather than issuing a mandatory national stay-home order, which would require him to invoke the never-before-used Emergencies Act.

I had planned to jump on the stay-home bandwagon with this column, prior to the emergency alert, after reading an appeal in a post on Facebook by my son, Chris, for people to do exactly that. Considering he is a nurse at Sault Area Hospital, I thought it might have more punch if I let him make the pitch here himself.

“I just can’t figure out or understand the complacency of people, that they are not getting how serious this is,” he wrote. ”Everyone needs to understand and respect the seriousness of this virus and understand it today, not tomorrow. The numbers are growing at an unprecedented rate, 401 new cases in Ontario, a daily rise of almost 17% that will keep rising.

“Anyone who has just come home from travel and is found not self-Isolating needs to be reported and should be charged. The largest percentage of new cases reported are from travel. In Ontario people aged 40 to 59 are the highest percentage of confirmed cases with ages 20 to 39 being second. Guess who is doing all the travelling?

“Please, stay at home, no more travel, no more play dates, no more beers in the garage with the guys, no more hanging out in the Tim’s parking lots around the back of trucks.

“The world’s shortage of Personal Protection Equipment is real and as a nurse this scares the hell out of me.

“We have a chance to limit the spread of this virus in our area but only if we all do our part. If we don’t, things can get out of control really fast.
“Please be safe everyone and please do the right things. This is not going to be forever. We will get through it.”

His sister, Charles-Anne Wardlaw, who is also a nurse, chipped in:
“Well said, brother. If it was okay to be with people, I would be with my kids, my parents, my brothers, their families, and friends. I miss hugs. We would be having a family Easter dinner and camp fire. We would be planning a girls trip to Sudbury to see our bestie there. If we could lock it down, we could eventually break free of our isolation.”

Appeals like these are being made by many but we wouldn’t need an emergency alert if everyone was already acting accordingly.

Donald Trump, the U.S. president who seems to have missed recovery from a lobotomy, has gone along with his medical advisers’ suggestion that the American people wear masks when they are out. But he is not making it mandatory and says he will not wear one himself, which means it will be virtually meaningless, like most everything else he does.

However, I was pleased to note that when Michael Smerconish, who has a Saturday morning show on CNN, got the results of his weekly poll question as to whether his listeners would be willing to wear a mask during the pandemic, 92 percent of those of the 21,000-plus who replied said they would.

I will now be wearing a mask when I have to go out. I also am using disposable nylon gloves.

My daughter-in-law, Donna Millroy, made masks for me and my wife, Barbara, which I will use when I go for groceries and prescriptions and Barbara will use when she goes for an appointment at SAH to have the cast taken off her broken arm and the staples removed.

When I first ventured into a grocery store on Saturday morning I had to remove the mask as it was steaming up my glasses. With some practice at home, I have solved that problem.

I should say I was surprised in the store to see only one other person wearing a mask.

However, there were several wearing them in the lineup outside a store I drove by on my way home.

I am using my family members as examples of what is known to be required to beat COVID-19, with the hope that it might bring along some of those who don’t seem to see the need for the restrictions.

We have to practice what one of my former chiropractors once told me, “short-term pain for long-term gain.”

And we have to always remember that by self-isolation and social distancing, the life we may save may not only be our own but that of others as well.
Stay safe.


  1. I am appalled that some people are ignoring self isolation and safe distancing. Last night on FB as many of us were saying how much we miss hugging and kissing our grandchildren. One woman wrote “nobody is going to tell me to stay away from my grandkids. I visit them all the time” When I suggested that she be very careful as she could bring the covid virus to them she told me basically to mind my own business. These types of people are selfish. They are also being stupid. When you are not social distancing you could be spreading the virus unknowingly to many people. And if you truly love your grandchildren , for God’s sake, use your head and stay home.


    1 Plagues do not go away. Measles remains here. Eventually sufficient numbers get the disease, as children, and are then immune so the plague is no longer rampant. Some, like measles we can vaccinate for. If we all stopped vaccinating, in a generation, we would have a measles pandemic.

    2 As human population has increased the transfer of bugs from animal to human to human became inevitable. We all became immune to the “common” bugs. When a new bug arrives it then can infect everybody. But it has to be the right kind of bug to matter. If it kills you too quickly and can only be transmitted by close physical contact it quickly becomes irrelevant to the majority. Ebola is an example.

    3 To have a pandemic you need the right bug that makes you ill but does not kill you too fast, a method of transmission that makes it easy to get from person to person. An incubation period where you are infectious but do not know it. SARS had two problems preventing massive spread that Covid 19 does not. There was little evidence that you were very infectious during the incubation period and it had a 15% mortality. People became very sick, quickly got hospitalised and were strictly isolated. Little transfer. Some pandemic bugs cause so little problem that we do nothing. Cold viruses.

    4 Covid 19 has a long incubation period, up to 10 days, during which infected individuals, although asymptomatic, are extremely infectious. The great majority do not get very ill. For many children it may be no worse than a cold. Rapid massive transfer.

    5 It is unlikely that Covid 19 will disappear as SARS did. It is too widespread. It seems likely that a herd immunity will be achieved either by sufficient numbers getting the disease (with many people, especially older people, dying) or an effective vaccine being produced (at least a year away).

    6 Covid-19 will probably be around forever, like measles, whooping cough and chickenpox.HOW THE ECONOMY WILL GET RESTARTED

    If and when Canada gets control of Covid-19 (eradication like we did with SARS will be impossible) we can speculate on how people will get back to work before a vaccine is available (which most likely will take much more than 1 year). Everything will hinge on testing – not just to find out who has the virus but more importantly, testing for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, to determine who has had the virus and is immune and cannot be a carrier. The elderly will have to be protected as the virus will linger in the general population – people over 60, or 65 (an age to be determined) will have to continue to self-isolate and practise strict social distancing until the day a vaccine is available. People with antibodies to Covid-19 will be the first to go back to work as they are immune and won’t transmit the virus to others. The dicey part will be those without antibodies, those not immune to Covid-19 – they can become infected and not only get sick, but bring the virus back to infect other vulnerable parts of the population without being sick themselves. These people will need specific rules and guidelines. First we have to bring the infection rate down low enough that it is manageable as China, Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea have done. That alone will be daunting enough.

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