The Atlantic

Canada Got Better. The United States Got Trump.

Two North American nations seemed to be on the same path—and then they diverged.
Source: Getty

I reached the Canadian border on the Fourth of July.

Usually, the Thousand Islands crossing station between New York and Ontario is busy on summer weekends. Not this time. Eight of the nine lanes were closed, and only one car waited ahead of me in the single open queue.

Despite the light traffic, I waited a while for my inspection—and when it was my turn, the car behind me waited a while too. In mask and gloves, an official inspected my Canadian birth certificate, asked whether I was transporting any weapons, then probed my plans for the 14 days of self-isolation required after entering Canada.

What would I do for groceries?

How would I walk my two dogs on the trip?

Did I understand Ontario’s masking rules?

At what phone number could I be reached during my self-isolation?

Over the next two weeks, that number would receive texts, robocalls, and a live call fromThe live calls—my wife and I each got one—focused more on our well-being. Did we have enough food? Were we lonely or depressed? Did we need anyone to deliver anything to us? (I’m pleased to report that the caller I spoke with was a reader of .)

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