Article content continued

Behaving like that in front of your child is obviously a terrible example. But the people who erupt into these COVID rages lose all sense of dignity.

The extended video tirade by the woman in a Fabricland store is one example. She shouted that COVID-19 is “a hoax” and “nobody’s sick.”

This unidentified woman was filmed mocking and berating employees at a Calgary store who asked her to put on a mask, as per the city bylaw. The incident happened at a Calgary Fabricland on Sunday, Sept. 13. Photo by Screenshot/Twitter

Even worse is the guy shouting at women who asked him to wear a mask in their northwest liquor store.

That one was a display of naked racism and hatred — so raw that I find it hard to watch.

He shouted that the women should go back to where they came from. He called them a “piece of s…” Coun. Jyoti Gondek accurately called it “racist garbage.”

These episodes are far from the norm in Calgary. The majority of people are careful with COVID behaviour, respectful of others and certainly not racist.

But the hostile trend seems to be escalating along with the pandemic itself. The consensus around reasonable protective measures shows signs of cracking, just when we need to pull together one more time.

Shortly after a Foothills hospital news conference Monday, Dr. Deena Hinshaw said 358 new cases were detected in Alberta over the weekend. Seventeen outbreaks of two to four cases have now been identified in schools, and two schools are on official watch, meaning they have five or more cases.

Overall, there are 126 active cases in 81 schools.

But the chief medical officer of health sounds the same hopeful note as the hospital authorities, who insist Foothills is perfectly safe to visit or to get care.

Hinshaw says the infections have occurred in a tiny percentage of schools, and where they do happen they are quickly contained.

Alberta’s daily cases still haven’t broken out beyond regular counts of 100-140 or so. But neither are they declining.

There is a real risk that this could slip beyond official control. Which is exactly why people should follow the reasonable mask-wearing and distancing protocols.