Cab driver takes drunk passenger who refused to wear a mask directly to the police station
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A belligerent anti-masker in Victoria, British Columbia started 2021 nearly $700 poorer for forgetting the number one rule of riding in a cab: the driver is always in charge.

On New Year's Day at 1 am, a cab driver picked up the man who was clearly intoxicated and refused to wear a mask. The drunk guy also put his hands in the driver's face while he was operating the vehicle.

While refusing to wear a mask and to social distance in any location is dangerous, the drunk passenger was being especially terrible because COVID-19 is more likely to be spread in the confined, indoor space of a cab.


"When you are in a confined environment, there is a risk of airborne infection, especially in ride-sharing trips that take just 15 to 20 minutes," Varghese Mathai, PhD, assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, tells Verywell.

The drunk guy didn't just put the cab driver in danger but future passengers as well. Studies show that COVID-19 can live on metal for up to five days and on plastics for two to three. How many people could he have infected by spreading the virus inside of the cab?

The cab driver knew he had to get rid of this passenger, but instead of dropping him off at the nearest street corner or driving him home, he plotted the perfect revenge.

The driver decided to change course and head towards the nearest police station.

What was the passenger going to do about it? Jump out of a moving vehicle?

But before arriving at the station, the driver called 911 and made sure the police knew they were on their way so they could throw the book at the passenger when he arrived.

According to the Victoria Police Department, the driver called 911 to report that a passenger was "belligerently refusing the driver's requests for the passenger to adhere" to the province's Covid-19 Related Measures Act guidelines (CRMA).

According to the province's guidelines, when using a cab or a ride-hailing service, passengers must "as much as possible, avoid physical contact with passengers." They are also required to social distance and wear a face covering.

When the driver arrived at police headquarters, officers were there waiting for the passenger's arrival. However, the belligerent man refused to get out of the cab. So the officers removed him forcefully and placed him into custody.

The man was charged with three counts, abusive or belligerent behavior, failure to wear a face covering, and failure to comply with the direction of an officer. The fines totaled up to $690 CAD ($542 USD).

The man was also cited for public intoxication.

The next morning he probably woke up and realized that was the most expensive cab ride he ever took.

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Prior to European colonization of North America, millions of bison roamed the Great Plains. By the turn of the 20th century, those numbers had dropped to less than 1,000. The deliberate decimation of buffalo herds was a direct attack on the Native American people, who colonizers saw as an obstacle to their "Manifest Destiny," and who the U.S. government engaged in a systematic attempt to eliminate or force into docile submission.

For thousands of years, bison were a sacred, inseparable part of life for Indigenous tribes of the Great Plains, used for food, shelter, utensils, and clothing, in addition to spiritual and emotional well-being. Wiping out the bison population nearly wiped out the Native tribes they were connected to.

Though bison numbers have increased significantly thanks to conservation efforts, governments are still grappling with the ugly legacy, and some municipalities are taking steps to try to repair some of the damage done. As one example, the city of Denver, Colorado has taken the step of giving some of the city's bison population managed by Denver Parks and Recreation to Native American tribes engaged in bison conservation efforts.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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