Try as we might, 2020 is the non-stop year of COVID-19. Whether it is the impact of the disease itself on family and loved ones, its continuing toll on local businesses and community organizations, or wall-to-wall media coverage, a part of me wants to put up the Christmas tree now, open some presents, then ring in the New Year and give 2021 a big hug.
Yet this little time slip fantasy would only bring us closer to much feared – if not inevitable – headlines noting that even with a vaccine or vaccines, mass immunization is still months away, a wave of personal bankruptcies and mortgage foreclosures is upon us, and up to one-third of our restaurant sector and one-fifth of other retail businesses have vanished. Sadly, this will get worse before it gets better.
On the bright side – and yes there is one – researchers and front-line clinicians know a lot more today and have some antivirals and other interventions to help patients with moderate- to severe-COVID-19 disease, especially in acute care settings. This has kept death counts for at-risk populations low even as the daily infection counts have risen.
As well, I’ve been impressed with the overwhelming compliance with indoor mask-wearing edicts, patient and well-spaced lineups from the grocery store to the ServiceOntario office on St. Joseph Blvd and a degree of comaraderie evident in Saturday afternoon LCBO waits. I’ve also seen kindness at the drug store prescription counter letting elderly clients skip the line and on local sidewalks as dog walkers take extra care with their pets around others – please, let’s keep this up!
On a personal level, our family did not have to agonize over the return to school. Our son is in his final semester of university and all classes are on-line. In chatting with friends and neighbours, the decision on returning to the classroom was not easy. Some kids need structure and sorely missed their classmates while others just rolled with the proverbial punches and have adapted quite well to hybrid or full stay-at-home learning.
My house backs onto a high school field and I can walk to three primary other schools within five minutes. On these walks it’s clear that teachers have been doing their best to use good weather to their advantage with outdoor teaching seeing younger kids sitting in well-spaced circles or teenagers appropriately seated on the football stands. Here’s hoping they can keep this up to Thanksgiving or beyond.
With the virus doing its thing or as one friend puts it, ‘virus gonna virus’, one strategy that has helped me tune out COVID-19 is to concentrate and devote my energies to things I can control.
Stepping up my game in the kitchen is a direct result of the early lockdown back in the spring and restricted opportunities to dine out. Another personal positive is the dents made to book piles in various corners of our house while discovering some new Canadian authors in the process.
Converting part of the garage into a mini gym has been a good counterbalance to my aforementioned LCBO visits. Although watching a middle-aged man do jumping jacks, push-ups, shadow boxing along with varied dumbbell sets while streaming old-school 80s and 90s hip-hop tunes through my Bose speaker has likely been a tad unsettling for the neighbours. Best to add a few bottles of wine and Scotch for the five houses around me on my next ‘beverages’ run.
Finally, with our trips to Florida and Europe scuttled (yeah I know, First World problem), we’ve toured local markets and towns all within an hour or so drive from Orléans and discovered great micro brewers, local food producers and talented artisans across Eastern Ontario and into the Gatineau Hills.
So control what you can, tune out the negative, and continue to be well. #InThisTogether #CaVasBienAller.