As we hurl our hats in the air, desirous of a beer on a patio, gatherings of more than 10 and the end of a shaggy mane, we are thrown into the illusion of all is well, all is normal. Even before the opening of Phase Two, one began to see fewer masks, fewer people moving away at our approach.
As I realize the restrictions could not continue until a vaccine arrived, the reopening suggests , or our minds want to believe “ business as usual”, all clear. But it ain’t so. And being lazy humans, we will drift to what was/ is comfortable, attempting to accept the dragon has been slayed and we can resume the summer life we cherish . And if we turn off the television and stuff our ears, we won’t hear that just south of us, the pandemic is out of control.
Looking South to the States, we see the laxity has caused outrageous, in cautious numbers to soar.The US along with Brazil records the highest ever cases yesterday since Coronavirus was announced. Statistics now list 37 year olds as a rising cadre of victims. Dr. Michael Osterholm infectious disease epidemiologist at University of Minnesota decried that the virus has not reached a second wave, and rather like a forest fire – will destroy everything in its way.
A deadly forecast.
And reading Rosie Di Manno’s editorial last week last Monday provided a glimpse of post- Covid life, some victims bereft of smell, acuity, motor and even digestive ills, once ravaged bodies that finally shook off the virus in hospital. So yes, some lucky souls may be asymptomatic but others succumbing in variable ways that may discover may their active lives forever.
Once quarantined at home, with select family members and taking the precautions seriously, save that blowout weekend at Trinity Bellwood’s, people here appeared to move with thoughtfulness for themselves, their neighbours. Yet all ready in too many places, we note the opposite arising. And once again, as much as we disparage the US president, shaking our heads at his narcissism, his stupidity, he throws the entire world under the wheels as he poo- poos testing, jeeringly, and certainly has no compunction for putting thousands at risk with his silly rallies.
And as much as we might dismiss it all as folly, he stands as a role model to too many, peculiarly I muse, even as six more of his advance staffers for the Oklahoma debacle, and later two more of his staff tested positive for the virus. No wonder he wants to do away with testing and bury the results. Ignoring and trying to gag John Bolton’s book, able to go unpunished for everything from unwanted female groping and worse ,not reporting taxes to extolling personal favours and cozying up to dictators, he is the Teflon man, untouched by law or virus, and by his person demonstrates infallibility as he slinks and slides through the world. Smirking and smirking as he tilts his head so superciliously, unable to even pretend empathy.
Strangely, we will all return to our prior lives, circulate freely in the streets and make ourselves think it’s business as usual as we sit on patios and enjoy our haircuts.Here we have been vigilant and observed numbers plummet, but with the removal of restrictions, people being who they are, we will return to previously selfish behaviours, putting others at risk. So I fear.
A front page article entitled,Why Canada must stand on guard for possible second wave “ in Friday’s Star also analyzed ,”… researchers found that when fatigue sets in and people start relaxing physical distancing and workplace and school closures, there is a resurgence of infections, resulting in a second or even a third wave of the virus.”
They continued,”. ..Some populations will not have them but many will because of this so-called behavioural fatigue.” And in truth, we are all fatigued, emotionally exhausted by the restrictions we may resent, but know we must follow.
We will have to be reminded : to wear the masks, discarded on the desk at home, wash our hands frequently, and also those masks, and not stand too close on the bus ride. Inspite of devices to alert us to too close proximity and Purell at the entrances of stores, we will lapse into former ways, forgetting the warnings that have helped ensure safety for almost five months.
And what of a return to school? So far a slapdash attempt at three different possibilities. Is now the time to put energies towards a new math curriculum so that kids can deal with financial literacy? Too long the removal of jumpy anxious kids from classes, protocol, teachers and friends, but really, shouldn’t their safety and security, both emotional and physical, be the priority rather than introducing additional stress- causing situation to both kids and teachers.
So even in the minds of those who have walked us cautiously through these difficult months, diversions from the real issue are branching away as that illusion of normalcy arises, banishing and hiding the underlying issue- that has not been eradicated, only waiting to erupt again. Like Cassandra whose prophecies were ignored, we may be doomed by the once again lack of preparedness. Jeremy Konyndky from Centre of Global Development asserts, “ If you give this virus oxygen , it will burn you down.”
And echoed by the brilliant Susan Rice, 24th U.S. National Security Advisor to President Obama and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations on Real Time with BillMaher, explained she, along with so many others had warnings, hers an explicit thirty-eight page document. Not knowing when, but that this looming unstoppable virus would come, nothing was done.
Some businesses already en route to working at home will proceed that way, others may segue into partial restrictions based on numbers, but slowly and surely the façades will return, an extra person or two pleading entrance or at the last minute added to an elevator, a forgotten face shield ignored, for that is the way things are. Humans want what humans want when they want it, and if a big stick or mighty fine is not decreed , too many in society will not put the needs of others first. We see it on beaches, as Doug Ford noted at Cherry Beach recently-and that was before Stage Two formally arrived.
Each person will have to be their own social conscience and endeavour to remain in pandemic mode. No matter self- interest or laxity.
Will fatigue, carelessness or ignorance lead us back to a worse second wave?