By Chad Ingram
We've watched it coming for a couple ofmonths quickly and insidiously first in China then Italy and other countriesin Europe. Then Vancouver then the GTA. During the weekend the strain of coronavirusknown as COVID-19 made landfall in the jurisdiction of the Haliburton KawarthaPine Ridge District Health Unit with cases confirmed in Northumberland Countyand the City of Kawartha Lakes respectively.
As I write this the Ontario government hasjust declared a state of emergency in the province limiting group gatheringsand restricting business activity. Down the street Haliburton Countycouncillors are gathered at a meeting where they are effectively suspending theactivities of council for the time being. The lower-tier townships have closedtheir public facilities are cancelling public meetings and events and areasking residents to conduct their municipal business digitally. The librarysystem is shut down live entertainment is being cancelled and businesses ofall kinds are limiting their hours. For the most part the public social andcivic life of this community is on hold. On pause.
While there have been less wide-spreadmore geographically concentrated pandemics in recent times the truly globalnature of the COVID-19 pandemic is nothing that anyone alive today has reallywitnessed before and that is strange surreal and yes a little bit scary.
Stay at home if you can we're told aprospect that seems simple enough but may be more challenging than it seemsfor a society bent on busyness one that worships at the altar of productivity.
But it's crucial that we pull back that weseclude ourselves as much as possible. The virus spreads easily but has tojump from vessel to vessel – that's us – to continue its spread. Listen to aninfectious disease expert speak and they'll talk about the benefits of socialdistancing in slowing that spread. That buys us time for a vaccine to bedeveloped. Most experts will tell you that a vaccine is likely 18 months awaybut mitigating medications should be around long before that. Basically wejust have to buy the world's medical minds enough time to do what they do.Eventually we'll view COVID-19 the way we view the flu or common cold.
In the meantime though get good atsolitude. If you are lucky enough to be able to work from home do it. If youremployer is offering other alternative working arrangements take advantage ofthem. Go for walks in the woods – we have a whack of them in the county. Startworking on that Doug Ford oil painting you've been meaning to get around to. Learnto make sushi from scratch. Spend time with your children or at least sendthem into the woods.
Many local businesses will take an economicbruising during the coming weeks or months so try to support them the best youcan. Purchase gift certificates for future visits. Order takeout. Make onlinepurchases. And for the love of god don't panic-purchase things. There are fewerthan 20000 of us in the county on a year-round basis. There's lots ofeverything to go around if we just share and keep our consumer habits at theirusual level.
We'll get through this together but apart.