No good deed…
Last week, a Beaconite received a text message that no one wants to read: He had recently come into contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19. The Beaconite, who was doing laundry when he learned this news, called the Covid-19 hotline to be put on the list for contact tracing, and then went home and into his room, where he spent the majority of the next five days. What followed, unfortunately, was reminiscent of the frustrating and confusing process he had experienced when he volunteered to be contact traced earlier in the pandemic. When the Beaconite first called the hotline last week, he was told that a public health worker would call him the following morning to schedule an appointment for a test. This call never came, and despite phoning the hotline several times afterward, he had to wait another day before connecting with the woman handling his case, to whom he had to repeat all the information he had already given the hotline. The next morning, he awoke to his phone ringing at about 7:30 a.m. A taxi driver was on the other end, saying the reporter should be ready by 9:30 a.m. to get a ride to the hospital to take his test. The taxi process was all done very efficiently, for which the Beaconite is grateful, though he was surprised and a little dismayed to learn that he would have to pay $50 for his rides to and from the hospital. When he later asked the hotline about this practice, which was new to him, he was told that it had become standard protocol that all people being contact traced have to take and fund a taxi ride to the testing centre. He sees no reason for the practice, as he easily could have driven himself. In fact, driving himself would have been safer, as it would not have put his taxi driver at risk. By Saturday afternoon, he received the best news of the week: His test had come back negative, and so had all of his friends’ who were also quarantined for the better part of the week. Happy as he was about being able to spend the rest of the weekend out of the house, he couldn’t help but feel a bit dismayed about how disjointed the whole process had been. To be sure, he appreciates the gargantuan task public health workers face, and he is thankful that they have been working so hard to keep the territory safe. But after living with the pandemic for more than a year, it was dispiriting to see that some of the problems that afflicted the contact tracing apparatus early on still persist. Besides being a nuisance, such inefficiencies could be damaging: The Beaconite would not blame someone if they chose to forego the headache and $50 taxi ride that follows a call to the Covid-19 hotline, and instead drove themselves to the hospital, paid the $70 for a test usually given to travelers, and quarantined themselves for two weeks if the test comes back negative. If the government wants people to behave responsibly, it should reward responsible behaviour.
Can Big Scrub Island become “Memelandia?” Reddit users united on Saturday to create a subreddit called Reddit Island, and more than 27,200 “islanders” discussed which islands they should buy for a meme, according to Entrepreneur Magazine. They proposed to establish “Memelandia” on Disappointment Island, which is off the coast of New Zealand. Another popular choice was Pitcairn Island in the central Pacific, which has a population of 55 people. Big Scrub in the Virgin Islands was another option for Memelandia. Users suggested using Lego pieces as coins, or the cryptocurrency Dogecoin. They also said the local time would be UGT +4:20. Additionally, users suggested having “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Risk Astley as the national anthem. The project — which of course could never happen here in the VI — has a website at redditisland.org.
A Beaconite is glad for the opportunity she’s had this month to learn more about the significance of Ramadan with her friend. Initially, the reporter only knew it as the holiday when members of the Muslim community fast during the day. But she has enjoyed getting a fuller appreciation of the dedication it takes to fulfil this commitment. To her understanding, Ramadan is also an opportunity to reflect on how fortunate one is to have access to food and water, and to find ways to give back to one’s community. The reporter valued finding time to read about the history of Ramadan and joining in the fast. It was certainly harder than she expected at times but rewarding, especially when breaking fast with some delicious dates and warm conversation.