By Pauline Kerr
It is obvious we are still in the early stages of the fight against COVID-19.
There will be an eventual victory, of that we are certain. It will come with the development of an effective and safe vaccine. We have defeated other diseases, including polio and smallpox, and to a large extent, HIV-AIDS; we will defeat COVID-19. Until that happens, there will be defeats and small victories too numerous to count.
In the category of defeats, it seems there are people who simply do not get it. A good example is the 20 or more people who attended a recent back yard party in Brampton. Fines were imposed.
This echoes what is happening on a world scale. While the vast majority of people maintain social distancing – avoiding other people like, to put it bluntly, the plague, others are seemingly oblivious to the danger. From wealthy jetsetters who continue partying and spreading the disease internationally, to our returning snowbirds who make their usual stops at Walmart and local shops before starting their 14 days of isolation, to the covidiots who keep taking down the yellow tape from playground equipment so their kids can play on it with their friends, every incident puts people at risk.
One of the most disgusting defeats was the attempt by our closest neighbor to stop a shipment of medical masks. That one ended in a luke-warm triumph, an agreement between 3M and the American government to let masks into Canada. That, combined with the ramping-up of manufacturing medical equipment in this country, will hopefully give us what we need.
The triumphs we will remember long after COVID-19 is gone include delightful shows of solidarity – windows with a picture of a rainbow, and words, “We’re all in this together;” trees festooned with white ribbons to tell our health-care people how grateful we are for their work; groups of teenagers laughing and joking as they insist their friends have to stay that crucial one-hockey-stick distance from each other.
As we celebrated Easter and Passover, we were thinking of family members who could not be with us. Spending holidays alone can be viewed as a defeat, but it makes us look forward to the day when family celebrations are no longer hazardous.
While we focus on surviving being trapped in our homes with bored kids, dogs who have become accustomed to 11 walks a day, dwindling bank accounts and supplies of toilet paper, and an overwhelming wish to sit down on a park bench with friends, we must keep our eyes on the future. As is happening in China and other countries hit hard by the virus months before we were, life will return to some sort of normal while we await the vaccine that will defeat the enemy.
We must do what we can to ensure our economy will rebound. This is not just a government responsibility; we will all have a part to play.
We can plan shopping expeditions that include all our favourite local shops – and we have a lot of them. We want to keep them all.
We can plan the massive fundraisers we will hold to replenish the empty coffers of our cherished charities.
We have vacation opportunities galore only a short drive from home. Once we are no longer confined to our houses, we need to explore them. We have learned from experience that a disease may be defeated in Canada while continuing to run rampant elsewhere in the world.
Instead of risking bringing home the next wave of COVID-19 from somewhere sunny and exotic, we can enjoy the sun and waves on our own world class beaches. If it is exotic we want, we have weird and wonderful flora and fauna right here. We have restaurants that boast exciting and unique menus, hotels that offer pure luxury, and crafters and artists who create works that could successfully compete with anything we might find in another country. We have historic sites, award winning festivals, unusual architecture and much more.
We also have COVID-19 for now, but not forever.