I wish to do a weekly series, during this time of isolation, to try to do just that. From my small apartment, and from behind my keyboard, I want to reach out to anyone local, and international. As we are all battling a shared experience, albeit at different stages of the same, terrifying game of survival. My hope is that I do my humble part, in a greater framework of using this world-wide-web for what it was initially propounded to be a vehicle for. Which is the breaking down of international borders and barriers, to enable a global community to emerge.
The only distance I wish I saw more of, when I do go outside to purchase some overlooked items every few days, is the ‘social distancing’ we all need to practice safeguarding each other’s health. Even if I don’t agree with it, I understand why many in my metropolitan city (and if Instagram is to be believed, in cities throughout the West) are choosing to maintain their social routine. As much as, federally-mandated shutdowns of cultural sites, large social-gathering places, and regulation of the numbers of customers simultaneously allowed on business premises, will allow of course. I believe that individuals’ need to ‘not live in fear’ socially, is in some cases prevailing over the government-requested need for extreme caution. Which is unfortunate, as no one consciously wants to fall victim to this infection, nor inadvertently endanger the life of a loved one, or that of multiple strangers.
I do understand that this ‘new normal’ is brand-new to all of us in the West, especially the millennials. Self-isolation, only gathering with loved ones and/or family members one lives with, is part of this recent routine. Along with the: never-before-seen full or partial shut-down of most public facilities, businesses, and services other than those deemed necessary during this crisis. All of this sudden change can be hard to face, regardless of age, but especially for our youth, and seniors. It can seem easier to protect our psyches from all of this stress, anxiety and fear by not heeding the government’s daily call for isolation. Regardless of whether one is exhibiting any symptoms of the coronavirus. As there is so much to be concerned about right now, from our: health (and that of those we care about), jobs, economy, and immediate futures (ours, and that of future generations). So I can understand why some members of our population are choosing to theoretically ‘hide their heads in the sand’. By, continuing to gather, and congregate wherever they are able to. And, by continuing as much as possible the social behaviours they have enjoyed for years. But I call on all of us to make the efforts necessary to decrease these previously-learned societal habits, by perfecting the adoption of this ‘new normal’ daily. After all, we are still in the beginning stages of searching for a cure. So I call for a collective steep learning curve, and the curbing of the conducts and freedoms we once considered the norm. As far as societal safety is concerned that is, and only until this emergency passes.
Objectively, for renters, or condo owners living in high-density areas, where the majority of jobs are to be found in the province, true isolation seems a little difficult. It requires some practice in order to minimize excursions to common places such as the grocery store, pharmacy, liquor store, and others. As most of us are not accustomed to buying everything we might need for 2-4 weeks at a time. Whenever one does make one of these trips to attempt to stock up, it is hard to really feel safe, and isolated from others. Due to the large number of persons living in that area, attempting to do the same thing. What used to take 10 minutes is currently taking 40 minutes or more, even at what used to be non-peak hours. Throughout all this, I commend our communities for the patience, and composure I witness us showing each other. The majority of us try our best to remember the latest social rule of safety, as we attempt to keep our public servants, community members, and ourselves safe.
Since the World Health Organization (WHO)’s announcement on March 11th, 2020 of the Covid-19 being a pandemic, daily changes and new social rules have become our new normal. The most important message that needs to be communicated, is one of peace, unity, and calm despite the current biomedical storm we are caught up in. Our world has already irrevocably been changed by the coronavirus, which as of March 2020 seems to have reached just about every corner of the globe. This is an epidemic that may have been looked at initially, as a problem for another part of the world. Certainly, it seems to have been viewed this way by our world leaders at first. An opinion based on how long it took for the public to be advised via mainstream media, of both the existence of the virus, and of the severity of the crisis. In less than 1 month how we lead our lives in every part of the world, has changed, radically. There is a distinct before and after, and a type of shell-shock effect; a psychological constant ringing in my ears. When I pause to consider the sheer, dizzying number of persons, and families, being affected and infected, by covid-19 worldwide.
However, the situation we currently find ourselves in has come to pass, this contagion has now reached our individual doorsteps, worldwide. And we have no other choice but to adjust, and adopt each safety measure our government rolls out. In that sense, I believe we have the capacity to counter this virus at a community level, by adopting these new adjustments with the speed at which we would integrate a new technology into our everyday lives.
We are incredibly lucky in Canada to be able to learn from how other countries at a more pronounced stage of infection, are mitigating its most severe effects. While trying to protect those most at risk of not recovering from this virus; our seniors and chronically-ill members of society. This is a time of incredible human bravery, on many fronts. From our politicians that are now banding together to make changes at a speed I have never witnessed before, except in times of war. To the selflessness of our public servants, in grocery stores, pharmacies, warehouses, etc., all those working to ensure that while most of us isolate, no shortages of vital services or supplies occur. Despite the risk inherent in their doing so, and working undoubtedly extra hours to support us all. Our emergency responders, police officers, fire fighters, and administrative workers, who are working tirelessly to enforce the new governmental changes as quickly as they occur. Who we need to continue working to make sure our communities stay safe as a whole, regardless of how we would prefer to carry on. Finally, our medical professionals, some of whom have come out of retirement nationally, in the tens of thousands. And who are striving to further bolster our healthcare system, and save as many lives as possible by putting theirs on the line, every day.
As regular individuals, when we look at all of these different factions of the necessary workforce who have been called upon to be daily heroes, for as long as is necessary. Is it really that difficult to do our part? To stay 1.5 meters apart, to buy as much as we can, and spread out any excursions for necessary supplies. To stay away from any persons we are not isolating with, for as long as it takes. And to follow the strict medical guidelines to prevent contaminating others if we feel ourselves falling ill. Are the small sacrifices asked of each of us, to ensure that the large sacrifices made by all of these public servants, really too much to ask? I think not, I think we are capable of doing much more, and this here is our first test on an individual level. If we want to survive, to beat this virus, and safeguard a future for us, our loved ones, and our children (present and/or future). We’ll do what we’re told, and support each other, worldwide. For as long as it takes.