As the current lock-down continues (okay, that’s a bit of an overstatement; we’re far from fully locked down), I’m wondering how it’s affecting you.
If you’re following the news and social media, and reading even a tiny segment of the reports, you notice a wide range of discussion points emerging around this pandemic shut-down. Our society is just not geared for such a sudden yank from normalcy. We’re used to change happening very gradually.
The economy is in shambles. Many are facing financial challenges, both unemployed workers and businesses. Sports fans are in total withdrawal. Domestic violence is on the rise. Suicides are on the rise. Mental health experts are being consulted. Break-and-enters are evidently up.
And Canadians are drinking more.
But families are also being blessed with more “togetherness.”
People are cooking and baking more than usual—and presumably, honing those skills. They’re increasing their games-playing and puzzle-making skills, and becoming creative with everything from crafts to witticisms distributed on social media. They’re watching a lot more movies—Netflix’ stocks are at record levels—and reading more books. And many of us are building our computer skills as we are forced to do more of our socializing—and business—online.
In an Angus Reid poll released Monday, only one-third of Canadians said they were managing well, though. Fifty per cent reported deteriorating mental health. Twenty-six percent reported deterioration in both mental and financial well-being.
Things we thought were clear a few weeks ago are becoming less and less clear. Antsey-ness (can I coin that word?) is rising—probably in all of us!
This is, apparently, the first time in history that we have quarantined healthy people. Previously, we’ve only done so with the sick and vulnerable. Sweden tried an approach something like that for COVID-19, with the results, so far, unclear. But no one knew who was infected and who wasn’t, so quarantining of the (perhaps) healthy was prudent.
We have doctors and leaders telling us that this is no time to let up, lest we lose everything we have gained. Most of us, cautious by nature, accept that. Rather safe than sorry!
Others are warning about the fallout from these restrictions—stuff like undiagnosed cancer and deaths from heart attacks because hospital beds are out of circulation and elective surgeries aren’t happening, as well as the onset of other diseases that aren’t being diagnosed or treated. And that deterioration of our mental and dental health (and other health issues) will overwhelm the system when it’s back up. And that too much isolation may lead to lowered immunity from the thousands of other virus always with us, and therefore other epidemics when we emerge from our cocoons.
We have conspiracy theorists saying that this was all a plot. And we have religious extremists preaching that this is the judgement of God and that their followers are therefore immune from it. (At least one such U.S. preacher later died of COVID-19.)
Meantime, we’re seeing casualty rates far below that suggested by the early models. Is it because the numbers scared us into hunkering down? Maybe. I hope they weren’t just crying “wolf” because we sure don’t need a loss of faith in our leaders right now. (Personally, I think the modelling numbers were simply bad statistical analysis–I could pontificate on that at length, but that’s for another day, or another forum.)
So we are in a state of confusion as we near the point of lifting some of our restrictions. Antsey-ness is pushing the U.S. to move more quickly than they probably should. We tend to be a little more patient, but I think our antsey-ness will push our leaders a little more than they would like, as well.
But most of us also now have more time to reflect and I hope that includes reflecting on the good things we have. The Angus Reid survey found that, while 44% of Canadians said they were “worried”, 41% “anxious,” and 30% “bored,” a full 34% also said they were “grateful.”
Let’s grow that number by considering some of the things we might reflect on:
- that we have trained and qualified people who immediately took this seriously;
- the generous community spirit that we are seeing all around us;
- the dedicated, brave and compassionate work of our first responders (let’s pound those pots at 7 pm);
- the show of unity and support we witnessed in the “Stronger Together” event Sunday night;
- that our (Canadian) leaders are finally working together fairly harmoniously;
- that we (most of us, at least) have time that we usually don’t: to learn and grow, to develop our skills, our creativity and possibly even our relationships;
- that pollution is down and our environment is healthier;
- that we’ll likely be emerging from this in time to enjoy our beautiful summer here in BC;
- that we’re not in Alberta, especially Fort McMurray, right now (except maybe a few readers—sorry for you!)
Let’s make the best of the time we have, practice patience, and find ways to dissipate our antsey-ness.