What other explanation could there be?

Health-care workers in Quebec led by orthopedic surgeon David Zukor appealed — through a change.org petition — to the provincial government to cancel its plan to allow up to 250 people at indoor and outdoor public gatherings.

“We don’t want to play with fire. It’s a dangerous way to go. Things have been going very, very well,” Zukor said, according to a Global News report.

“In other places that have tried this, other places in the United States, other countries, it’s usually been a ticket to a huge increase in a number of cases and moving backwards a giant step.”

The government ignored the appeal and went ahead with the plan last Monday.

What do the health-care workers who struggled through the first wave know about COVID-19, eh? The government knows best, apparently.

A Quebec spokesperson felt that event organizers will be diligent in ensuring public health directives are respected, adding: “However, everyone’s collaboration, particularly through the application of physical distancing, hand washing and wearing a mask or face cover when indicated, is essential to ensure the success of this new stage,” Dr. Richard Massé said.

Today (Wednesday), the Quebec government took it a step further: festivals and similar events can now be held, with a maximum of 250 people following aforementioned public health directives.

“Festival and event organizers are professionals in the management of gatherings, and I am convinced that this recovery will be done in a responsible manner,” Tourism Minister Caroline Proulx said in a statement, as reported by the Canadian Press on the CTV Montreal News site.

Hmm. Have they been micro-dosing psilocybin (which seems to be all the rage these days and took another step forward in the legalization process in Canada today)? Or might they be macro-dosing magic mushrooms?

Because, really, it would take some sort of powerful magic to have groups of 250 together in public settings and see everyone follow public health directives to the letter, and for event organizers to police them all.

It’s not going to happen. Look at California and Florida, to cite two examples of many places around the world now dealing with huge spikes in COVID-19 numbers.

Quebec’s ruling politicians are completely out of touch with reality (hence, the mushroom theory). They need to get out and about and see for themselves how citizens are flouting public health directives.

Try the neighbourhood Walmart. My g/f and I went grocery shopping at the Walmart store in St-Jérôme last Friday and saw several people — seniors and younger — wearing masks around their necks, with mouths and noses exposed. No store officials bothered to tell them to cover up properly.

There were even some shoppers with no masks at all, in complete contravention of public health directives — which state everyone must wear a mask properly inside public buildings.

Now festivalgoers are going to dutifully cover up and social distance while being festive?

So, what’s really going on? Why is the province that has had the highest number of COVID cases in Canada — and is still reporting between 100 and 200 new cases each day — risking another huge spike in cases?

Well, I don’t really think the ruling elite are on magic mushrooms. I think they may very well have decided to let Quebec be Canada’s guinea pig — with or without the federal government’s co-operation. Somebody’s gotta go first. Let’s push the envelope in Quebec, and see what happens.

I get it. They want to see the economy moving again. And they are willing to lose some lives in the process. It’s the Donald Trump approach. Bottom line: The economy trumps lives in Quebec, too, if not the rest of Canada.

Yes, it could backfire big time. Any short-term gain and pleasure is likely to result in long-term pain and agony for the economy and the people.

We don’t need to consult the spirit of Nostradamus on this. We see the resurgence of the virus in countries around the world.

Without a vaccine, we could be fighting the coronavirus for two to three more years, WHO and other responsible medical officials have stated.

The battle has barely begun, and already it has become “every man for himself” in Quebec. And every woman. Every child.

Of course, we don’t have to be herded into festivals and the like yet. And I imagine many will choose not to attend.

But some will feel the risk is worth taking, and I guess they are the real guinea pigs in all of this.

— Jillian