Edmundston — Along with adults over 65 and those with underlying health conditions, francophones from New Brunswick are officially being added to the list of populations especially vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus.
“There are 30 more cases today, an insane leap by any measure, and 24 of those cases were in Edmundston, the most francophone area of the province. The other days leading up to this big jump haven’t been so hot either,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell at a press briefing in the rural town Thursday afternoon. “Same story in Moncton. It stands to reason that the underlying cause, somehow, is being francophone and in New Brunswick.”
Boos and hisses erupted from the primarily francophone audience, most of whom were not wearing masks or standing six feet apart. “Don’t shoot the messenger!” Russell added. “I’m not happy to report this finding, but it’s there nonetheless.”
Edmundston is going back to the red phase, and introducing mass asymptomatic testing.
“Please, if you are francophone, we implore you to take extra care because the virus seems to love infecting you,” reiterated Premier Blaine Higgs in his embarrassingly bad French.
A Manatee reporter took to the streets of Edmundston, where people were strolling around, maskless, seemingly without a care in the world. Every venue we passed was packed to the brim with rowdy patrons. The Pizza Delight had a line to enter, and not because of reduced seating due to COVID — just because people friggin’ love Pizza Delight in Edmundston.
A woman wearing her mask below her nose approached us to ask us what we were doing. She extended her hand in friendly greeting, saying she washed her hands “pretty recently” so there’s no need to worry about transmission.
She seemed to enjoy the attention, so she invited us to dine with her, even though we are not in her “safe 15.”
“You only live once, eh?” she said in French.
Many southern New Brunswickers are wondering what exactly is wrong with their northern neighbours.
“Can’t they get it together? They’re going to get us kicked out of the Atlantic Bubble before it even happens!” cried Marlene Simmons of Fredericton. “I don’t care if you’re French, English, Chinese or Spanish, the message is clear: stay at home and wear your mask so we can get through this thing!”
“Exactly,” said Marlene’s husband Jack. “Ruining it for the rest of us. Isn’t the population up north pretty damned low? How is it managing to spread like wildfire among so few people?”
Though the answer to that question is still unclear, francophones are also being moved up on the vaccination list.
“Now I’ve been told to call any patients over 75 years of age,” said local pharmacist Sam Harding, “as well as anyone French, to offer them their shot. Seems kinda racist, but whatever works.”
At press time, Harding was calling one of his francophone customers to offer them the vaccine. The loud response echoed through the receiver: “Bain, non, je suis fine, là!”