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COLUMN

ZYTARUK: Step back, people. Personal space is where it’s at

These days, crowds plus cozy equals — you guessed it — COVIDiots

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So let it be written…

They say dinosaurs had brains the size of walnuts.

With so many people in Surrey and elsewhere spectacularly failing to socially distance themselves during this pandemic, it’s a wonder how our species has made it this far.

Since 2013, Collins English Dictionary has declared a Word of the Year. They have been, in order, Geek, Photobomb, Binge-watch, Brexit, Fake news, Single-use, and in 2019, Climate Strike.

Perhaps 2020’s Word of the Year will be COVIDiot.

Is it hubris, denial, galactic dimwittedness, criminal disregard, or perhaps a combination of the above that has so many people thumbing their noses at the pleadings of public health officials for us to keep our distance from one another, in an effort to fight this proven killer?

COVID-19 is no joke. It can bring down otherwise healthy young tough guys as well as more vulnerable senior citizens. According to a Centres for Disease Control and Prevention morbidity and mortality report, dated March 16, a full 20 per cent of the fatal cases in the U.S. were people ages 20 to 64.

Again, this was up to March 16. It’s now March 24.

This COVID-19 threat can’t be turned off like a television program you don’t want to watch, or be wished away with a party, or a sunny get-together at a local park or beach.

These days, crowds plus cozy equals — you guessed it — COVIDiots.

We need to give each other space, to beat this virus. Unfortunately, it’s a tall order for many to abandon self-entitlement, close-mindedness, and indifference to others — traits nurtured by cynicism, the pressures of modern life, and most ironically, by the self-isolation brought on by our devotion to our electronic devices.

But we need to get over ourselves, our wants and our appetites, to embrace the necessity to give one another physical space in an effort to maybe save a life, be it a stranger’s, that of a loved one or perhaps even our own.

So please — please — let’s all give one another a little breathing room.

Social distancing is the least — but strangely enough, also the most important thing — that we can do for one another during this scary and dangerous time.

So let it be done.

Tom Zytaruk is a staff writer

with the Now-Leader. You can email him at tom.zytaruk@ surreynowleader.com.

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