Sunshine Coasters are among the lucky ones. As of the date of this post, we’ve had very few cases of COVID-19. Still, the pandemic is worrisome, but not enough for some Coasters.

Take for example, a woman I ran into (literally) at London Drugs today. I wore latex gloves and a face shield. The woman did not.

Here I am with my face shield. Directions on how to make one are on Youtube.

She was probably around 40 and appeared fit and hale. I was in the toothbrush aisle with my shopping list. I was following the direction of arrows London Drugs had placed on the floor. So was a man ahead of me.

The woman rushed toward me against the flow. When she was about a metre and a half away I said, “Two metres, please.”

She kept coming and cut that distance in half. “There are arrows on the floor,” I said more assertively. “You’re supposed to follow them and keep your distance.”

“If you feel that way, you shouldn’t be in this store,” she said. She stopped in her tracks but continued to face me much closer than prescribed by the new social norms.

At that point I lost my cool. “I’m from New York,” I said. “Let’s not turn the Coast into New York.”

She huffed and turned away. So did a much younger woman who had been barreling against the arrow flow behind her.

So here’s my point. I’ve been a Canadian for decades, but I grew up in New York City. It has suffered half of the COVID-19 cases in the United States. As of the time of this writing, there had been 226,198 cases of COVID-19 in New York State. Knowing that, and wondering if any of my childhood friends have succumbed to the coronavirus, I am especially sensitive to the perils of those invisible virions in the air.

The woman didn’t know this, but then again, she didn’t know whether someone close to me was suffering from this awful disease. She didn’t know if I have an underlying condition that would make me particularly susceptible to the worst of the infection. She didn’t realize that people like her who don’t wear a mask or face shield and don’t practice physical distancing are the very people who are most likely to be carriers of COVID-19.

I am a voracious watcher of New York governor Andrew Cuomo’s morning briefings on CNN. I admire his exhortation that New Yorkers must be tough and strong as they stumble through this crisis. He suggests they use tough love in dealing with others. That means they should tell it like it is, tell people to keep their distance and let love remind them that any one of us could be victims. We need some tough love on the Sunshine Coast too.