A Lonely Month
No doubt that many are in the same boat as me and have spent the better part of March at home away from friends and family. The issue that started in China several months ago managed to make its way to Canada and the rest of North America. I'm sure by now, many are tired of hearing the word Covid–19 or what is also known as the Corona virus. The Corona virus is one that is often found in bats and typically does not cross over into the human species, however, in rare circumstances, the crossover does take place and when it does, it can be almost impossible to stop. On a positive note, viruses are not able to move on their own, so they can be contained if you can control the transmission to others through isolation, or better yet, with a vaccine. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for this virus and a vaccine could be a year or more away.
People Say Not to Worry
Since this virus broke out in China, I have had some serious concerns about it making its way here. We learned from the Chinese relatively soon, that there was no known cure for this virus and that it was much more potent that the common influenza virus we often see during the fall and winter seasons. We learned that the Corona virus was about 10 times more deadly than the influenza strains and much like influenza, was most deadly to the elderly population or those who had health problems. I have seen many younger people with the attitude that they are invincible, and that this virus wasn't going to be harmful to them. We have been learning over the last few weeks that this is a virus that doesn't discriminate and can affect anyone and can kill anyone. We now know that about 80% of all cases will be minor and that there will be those that will show no symptoms at all, which makes it all that much worse. There could be many people walking around that are infected and don't even know it while they are infecting others. It makes it scary to think that anywhere you walk outside, the person passing you on the sidewalk could be infected and at anytime could cough or sneeze and pass the virus onto you.
When Will it End?
We have been listening to our Prime Minister here in Canada for several weeks providing daily updates on the outbreak and what we may expect over the coming days and weeks. We have heard the crushing news from other countries where the outbreak is causing huge numbers of deaths and overwhelming the hospital systems. Italy and Spain are getting absolutely crushed by this pandemic and their healthcare systems are under enormous amounts of strain trying to keep up to the number of sick people coming through their doors. Along with the hospitals, funeral homes are unable to keep up with the demand for caskets and services. There are also the problems associated with transporting dead bodies that have been infected with the virus and how-to best deal with them. We are all now being inundated by the media on when we may see the curve flatten for new cases and there are media services using the hashtag “flattenthecurve” when providing estimates on when we may see the number of cases level off and start to decline. With social distancing being the most used method to stop the spread of the virus, many countries are depending on its citizens to follow distancing rules to get that curve flattened as quickly as possible and get this virus eradicated as quickly as possible. Here in Canada, we heard today that this pandemic will not end until a vaccine is developed and implemented and that could take anywhere from 6 to 18 months. So, currently, it looks like it's going to be a very long summer.
I remember first hearing of this virus breaking out in China last fall and at that time could only think of how other countries were going to prevent this from moving outside of the originating country. It seemed at that time that China had the matter under control and that the virus would be contained in that country. Then we started seeing the missteps before the end of the year with countries like Canada working to get citizens out of China and protect them from the fast-growing threat of infection. There were other countries that did the same and I must wonder if that was the right thing to do? No doubt, governments felt pressure to save the lives of their citizens that were in a country with a fast growing infection raging, but how many lives are now being lost and would those numbers be any lower had the borders been closed immediately? Why were the people coming back to their home countries not being quarantined when they arrived in their homeland and instead provided the opportunity to self-isolate? I believe there will be a lot of questions to heads of government once this pandemic comes under control. The financial hit this pandemic has created on the economy of many countries is beyond what anyone has seen before. It seems there is no doubt that we will be in a recession for some time and many countries will be struggling to keep their economies from slipping into a depression. We are now being told that we can expect to see smaller waves of infections once this first wave is brought under control. We are hearing many stories of people who have returned from other countries who are supposed to be in self-isolation for 14 days that they are ignoring the rules and going out into the general population. We also have many people who are ignoring the social distancing rules and still going out in groups or meeting at coffee shops, which are now take out only. Currently, everyone needs to follow the social distancing rules and stay home. No one needs to go to Tim Horton's for coffee and then go stand around in the parking lot to chit chat. How we act today, will make a difference in how long this pandemic will last, so just stay home and when you do go out, keep your distance from others as they could very well be infected and not showing any signs.