Don’t give up
It’s been almost two years since COVID-19 began to dominate the news and consume our daily lives. We’ve had to adopt new practices in dayto-day life — everything from how we greet each other to which direction we push our cart down the grocery aisle. We’ve had to learn words and terms to describe our new reality: circuit-breakers, household bubbles, double vaxxed, vax pass, physical distancing and classroom cohorts. Some people have lost jobs, or businesses they sacrificed so much to build, or have had to keep geographically distant from the people they love. We’ve had to worry about unvaccinated children and vulnerable older citizens. Toughest of all, we’ve lost people to this pandemic, to the disease itself, or to other situations exacerbated by COVID-19: addiction, intimate partner violence or a lack of access to other procedures and treatments in medical systems stretched too thin. It’s been gruelling, depressing, sometimes debilitating. And now, with omicron continuing to send case numbers surging across Canada, COVID keeps hitting closer and closer to home. Whereas early on we might have known of someone who contracted the virus, now we know someone directly — a friend, relative or co-worker — or we’ve had it ourselves. It’s easy to feel down, especially when you consider that even the high percentage of fully vaccinated people in the Atlantic region seem no match for the contagiousness of omicron. While many of those who contract omicron experience mild, cold-like symptoms, others are being walloped with it, from monthsold infants to young and healthy teens and 20-somethings. Omicron has infiltrated longterm care homes and driven into isolation many of the very health professionals we had relied upon to care for us. It has caused staff shortages at police stations and fire departments. Some experts, including Newfoundland and Labrador’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, say it’s inevitable that most of us will get COVID, since it is circulating widely in our communities. Other experts say it’s only a matter of time before the pandemic becomes endemic — that is, that COVID will be with us always, just in a weaker form. But we don’t know that for sure; not yet. And it is certainly no reason to feel defeated or complacent or to throw in the towel and tear off your mask. Here’s what we do know. Keeping our contacts to a minimum helps protect us all. Vaccinations work and are preventing many people from becoming seriously ill and hospitalized. Hand-washing and sanitizing works to keep the virus at bay. So does physical distancing and the wearing of three-ply masks or N95 masks. Our health is in each other’s hands. Stay focused on the long game and continue to do your part. Together we can make a difference.