All right, yes, I'll do it.
Several people have privately messaged me over the last week or so, asking for me to write a blog on COVID-19. One made note that I had promised just such a blog earlier. And so I did.
I have not left my property for eight days. To be candid, although I would very much like to go back to work, I do not feel safe in the slightest doing so. We are just entering the hot zone here in the Region of Waterloo. Our regional government has advised the risk of contracting COVID-19 is present "across the Region" and I believe them.
My biggest concerns are Eva and Mark. Without infringing their privacy, let me just say that they are at serious and substantial risk if they get the virus. I can not under-state this. And so we hunker down, try not to worry about money, and wait this out.
Most of us are doing the same, so I'm not going to complain about it. Really, it's not a great deal different from life as I lived it Before. Other than work and grocery runs, going out was an extreme rarity here. So I'm not exactly shack-wacky yet, although I am getting there.
I miss Kathy and Jade.
I miss my work friends.
I miss you.
And I miss the things I took for granted before this came along. I took for granted that if I did want to leave the house, there was nothing stopping me. I miss being able to go to the grocery store whenever I feet like it and having faith that most of what I want will be in stock and available to buy on the spot. (Delivery services are currently facing a one to two week delay and anywhere from 10-50%+ out-of-stocks). I never thought I would say this, but I miss reading the news and merely being outraged, rather than scared.
I miss not having the weight of this on me. I'm not sleeping well despite sleep aids and I feel as if I have less than zero energy even though I am not sick. There is little point in going on: this is not a pity-party, we're all feeling this or worse. So let me instead talk about the positives. Because there are many.
The first positive is that this has reinforced, on a global scale, what's important.
Most of us think our jobs are important. Most of us are wrong about that, and moreover, we're wrong about which jobs actually are. We all know that nurses are heroes. But most of us have suddenly realized that the stockthing we yelled out last month because the goat's anus tartare was out of stock again is actually a human being, and that human being is working her ass off to keep things under some semblance of normalcy. Parents suddenly forced to homeschool their children have developed a sincere and heartfelt appreciation for the same teachers they were lambasting for being on strike in the recent past. The same people who wanted trains and trucks to run over protesting Indigenous people and their allies six short weeks ago are now begging for the entire economy to be shut down because now it's potentially a matter of life and death for them.
We are learning how to process boredom, which is something many of us have forgotten how to do. We are getting, hopefully, lots of family time that we never got before. Perhaps most importantly, the collective exercise we are very consciously doing, the sacrifices we are making, they're all not just for ourselves and our loved ones but also for total strangers. That's important. That's good.
If current projections are true, this is going to get much worse before it gets better sometime in the summer. We are undoubtedly in for more hardship and deprivation. But we have each other, and we are trying our damnedest to keep it so that we have each other.
I will not deny that I am struggling with this. I have having trouble sleeping; the weight of fear, not just mine, is all but crushing. The slow motion of this is what's doing it to me. I think I would deal much better with a sudden, sharp crisis.
The other issue, of course, has to do with the other, insidious virus called misinformation. Or more bluntly, lies.
donald trump wants to re-open the American economy on Easter, because, you know, God only brought one person back from the dead, and Trump is so much better than God. Don't get me wrong, this is a crime against humanity. But there is undoubtedly a calculus going on, and wherever figures can be, ahem, adjusted lower, I think that's happening.
The death rate from this varies wildly between countries. In the U.S. as of right now, it's about twelve times as lethal as the seasonal flu. In Italy, which has been ravaged, the death rate is 9%, which is horrifying: that's more than forty five times as lethal. The stats are not very reliable anywhere because we do not have near enough test kits to go around. It's likely there are at least three times as many cases as we see in the daily reports. And that reported and confirmed case load in Ontario is increasing at about 25% each day, which mirrors what's happened in Italy and Great Britain. Ultimately, if you think this thing isn't such of a much, I would ask you if countries around the globe would opt to shut their economies down voluntarily for "no big deal".
Here's what else I would say to you right now. Unless you are a victim of abuse, you need to drop the "cooped up/trapped" narrative in your head and replace it with the word "safe". Realize that the best data we have suggests this does have an ending, and while that ending certainly isn't Easter, Canada Day is a safer bet. We'll all have to figure out money as we go: if you're hurting that way, and most of us are, remember that: most of us are. They are not going to throw you in debtor's prison: there aren't enough prisons. WE WILL GET THROUGH THIS. And hopefully, once we do, we will develop an appreciation for the little things, the little things that are in fact big things.
The elites that have lost money? They'll need to be careful with just how much they try to get back, how quickly. I think we have reached a tipping point in our society and that things will improve for the little people once we are over this hump. But for that to happen, I can't be the only person thinking it and demanding it. We can do better. We can take this pause and reset.
Stay safe, stay home, and I love you.