Heading into Christmas, we’ve reached 735 total COVID cases in the county I live in, yet only 3 deaths. That’s a little lower than the 1-2% rate of death the virus is seeing in general. Right now we’re showing 118 active cases currently. We just had a big outbreak at a drug treatment center in Effingham. The problem there was they let the patients being treated leave the facility before they were tested and told to quarantine, likely compounding the effects of the outbreak there.
I am worried about the effects of Christmas break and more people coming into town for the ski areas and going to restaurants. Since we have snow on the ground and it’s been cold, outdoor dining isn’t happening. I’ve only been to one restaurant here in the last 60 days and that was on a night it was slow.
Someone I usually agree with brought up the topic of Skylar Mack for discussion. If you haven’t heard of her, she’s the young adult who traveled to the Cayman Islands from Atlanta to see her boyfriend in a Jet Ski competition (they have competitions for those?). She tested negative for COVID on arrival but was instructed to quarantine for 14 days per the Islands’ COVID protocols. She was outfitted with a tracker and complained it was too tight, so they loosened it for her. There was also information to track her on her phone.
Two days later, she ditched the tracker and her phone to see her boyfriend (a local) compete and spent 7 hours, unmasked, among the attendees of the event. Authorities caught up to her and quarantined her and her boyfriend for a week (presumably to be tested again). Fortunately, neither of the tested positive for COVID.
Originally, the authorities were prepared to level a $2600 fine on each of them plus 40 hours of community service. However, the laws had changed right before Mack arrived on the Island. Violating the COVID quarantine was now punishable by up to 2 years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. At the urging of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the sentence was revised to 4 months in jail.
There was a time when my kids were teens that they were doing various things that were against the law for them. Hey, I smoked cigarettes as a teen (my high school even had a smoking area for us). It would have been hypocritical for me to tell them not to smoke. What I did tell them was that it didn’t matter what my opinion was of the law; it didn’t matter what their opinion was of the law; if they got caught, all that mattered was what the law said. One of them got caught smoking at school (twice) and ended up suspended. I never went in and pled her case for her – you do it, now you suffer the consequences.
My friend thinks sending Skylar Mack to jail is harsh. I disagree. She went to another country and is bound by their laws. Unlike this country, where young (white) adults seem to get off from being prosecuted for anything because “they’re just kids” or something like that, it’s very different in other countries. I see it time and time again in travel forums where people seem to think that because they are U.S. Citizens they can go anywhere and do what they want. Hell, they act like that in this country during the pandemic. How many cases of people assaulting store employees trying to enforce mask requirements have we heard of?
The Cayman Islands take this pandemic seriously, obviously. They have had 316 cases as of this writing and 2 deaths. Currently, there are 26 active cases there. They are obviously using this case to make an example, so no other fine citizens like Skylar Mack think they can go there and flout the laws.
There are reports Skylar is calling her grandparents in tears and is terrified about spending time in jail. Well, you went to a different country and broke the rules. At this point, I think she should be thankful it’s only 4 months. I hope she learns a lesson and gets her life back together. She’s become internet famous because the family thought they’d get sympathy for her plight, but that’s backfired. While I don’t “hope she rots” or anything (like has been stated in some comment sections), I don’t have much sympathy. With COVID being able to be transmitted when people aren’t symptomatic, she very well could have single-handedly transmitted it to a lot of people. She wrote an apology letter, but how do you apologize if your foolish actions cost someone their life? I liken it to a drunk driver who gets away with it one, so they think it’s not a big deal.
The Cayman Islands have approved only 1000 people to travel to the Island during this time. Skylar Mack was given the privilege to visit there, likely due to her relationship. They want to make sure people understand that they are serious about enforcing the quarantine and I don’t blame them. We Americans have a piss-poor reputation around the world for following the laws in other countries and think we are entitled to special treatment. She didn’t just go out a day or two early from quarantine – she obviously planned to flout the quarantine and didn’t feel sorry about it until she was caught.
It’s a hard lesson to learn, but I’m glad she’s just got to get through another few months in jail, and not have to visit a morgue to see what damage she did.