Merry Christmask

December 22, 2020

Around two weeks ago, I noticed a significant shift as I went into town on the combi micro-bus. Previously, only around half of the passengers wore face-masks, and even that percentage had been dwindling since the town re-opened in the fall. But suddenly, three-quarters of the people were masking, and even some of our libertarian holdouts with their much touted bulletproof auras and invincible immune systems were wearing them. The police began to stop the unmasked, warning them of fines, and the bus drivers started requesting that people put them on as well.

Some of your author’s collection of face-masks.

As has happened anywhere, we’ve had all sorts of ups and downs, and ons and offs, with the pandemic. Once the town of Tepoztlan put up barricades at its two primary entrances, back in the spring, our village of Amatlan copied it. My friends weren’t allowed in to visit, and when I went out, I needed proof of residency to be allowed back. For once, my gringo face, which always stands out, was a benefit in avoiding repeated checks.

The village barricade was always problematic, and had at least one shooting incident. It wasn’t officially sanctioned, and even the one the town put in place was technically illegal. When first the village reten was cleared, and a week or two after the town began admitting visitors again, everyone breathed sighs of relief.

Then, of course, the pandemic continued and worsened. With 122 recorded cases in the municipality to date (we have over 40,000 people), we’re in much better shape than some nearby communities, where the infection rate has been up to four or five times as high. Why, we don’t know, but we’re dangerously smug about it.

Last week, the governor of this state of Morelos warned about a complete Christmas lockdown. Our town nearly went that route, but our exhausted mayor, who toughed it out for months but couldn’t keep telling desperate, angry people their livelihoods were cancelled, declared on the weekend that he wasn’t closing up again. Christmas visitors are coming in, so I’m trying to avoid the town as much as I can. I miss the friends who live there, but it doesn’t feel that safe with all the outsiders.

If I compare our caseload to Toronto, which as of this writing has tallied around 53,000 people infected, we’re slightly better in our numbers. With minimal hospital facilities for a pandemic, that’s something to appreciate, and it’s far from like this in Mexico taken as a whole. This nation, with three times Canada’s total population, has now reported 1.3-million cases, and 120,000 deaths. And as they are elsewhere, the indicators aren’t good. Even the denialists are suddenly asking when the vaccines will be made available. 

So, I can’t put much of a positive seasonal spin on this post, beyond being grateful I’m in a place where I can at least get out and about, and the risk level has somehow stayed low. All I can do is make sure my face-masks are clean, and that my fingertips stay dry and a little cracked from all the gel and washing with soap they go through.

I hope you all continue to stay as safe. My best wishes for 2021, and thanks for reading my posts.

Edward.

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