The Problem with Pandemics

The Coronavirus has proved it has not only the ability to spread rapidly around the world, but to also make this a world as we’ve never known it. Even SARS and the catastrophic and devastating events of 9/11 didn’t disrupt day to day public life to the extent COVID-19 has as, closer to home, restaurants and schools close and doors slam shut on international borders.

The impact is far & wide

At current press time, nearly 180,000 people worldwide have been infected with over 7,000 deaths. China has faced the bulk of the cases and fatalities, but the virus has its grips on many other countries as well, from Italy, Spain and France to the United States and Canada.

But while the now pandemic has hijacked headlines and headspace for months, where we are now is a very different place. 

As of writing this it’s no longer life as we know it. The world has gone from comically dealing with toilet paper shortages, to panicking not just over paper products but over food and other essentials.

And let’s not forget the now common use of words like quarantine, self-isolation and the suddenly so critical social-distancing.

Interesting all this struck at perhaps one of the most social times in many cultures, one Newfoundlanders proudly embrace – St. Patrick’s Day.  

Local artists like beloved Shanneyganock have held virtual concerts, Conception Bay South fitness guru Gail Soper has held her classes via Facebook live and many parents – off from work or working from home with the kids – also now home on perhaps an extended vacation from school, create schedules for home schooling.

The world, and Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, are adjusting pretty swiftly to their new normal, but what else will change and how swiftly?

As of press time, New Yorkers have been warned they may be ordered to shelter-in-place and other places may follow. Canadian provinces, Alberta and Ontario so far, have ordered states of emergency and more may soon follow. Flights are grounded. People are worried thinking about what might come.

Honestly, it’s hard to say at this point what might happen as the powers that be are trying as hard as they can to control a very dangerous and potentially deadly virus. 

The disease caused by the virus circulating now, formally named COVID-19, is identified as a respiratory illness.  With symptoms very similar to the common cold it is considered  most dangerous for older people and those with pre-existing health conditions, making containing it and stopping the spread critically  important.

Always be prepared

For now, the best advice is to prepare for the almost unpreparable, but for goodness sakes, be kind about it. 

Stock up within reason, not because we are in apocalyptic times, but because we all need to stay home and be prepared to share what you have with others.

Stay home as much as humanly possible, be a good neighbour, and keep updated on the latest news through trusted and reliable sources.

And most importantly? Embrace the tried and true spirit Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are known for and laugh a little, because one day not in the too distant future the wild and crazy ride we are currently on will be more comical than crisis. 

And remember, Christmas is not all that far away and wrapping up any excess toilet paper is guaranteed to bring a smile to anyone’s face.

You can also access up to date information related to COVID-19 on the provincial government website: dc/coronavirus/

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