By Chad Ingram
At this point it’s almost a familiar feeling, a sense of “here we go again,” watching new daily confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ontario approach 2,000.
Spring is here and so is a third wave of virus – hopefully the last of the pandemic in this country.
Heading into our second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, face masks, social distancing, and copious amounts of hand-washing have become so commonplace for most of us that these things don’t feel strange anymore. It’s also become easier to live in the bubble of your own daily life, allowing the swirling maelstrom of the pandemic, with its associated language, press conferences and its domination of news cycles, to form a sort of background din to one’s day-to-day activities. The pandemic has, to some degree, unless the virus has personally impacted your health, become easier to ignore.
It’s important, though, to remember that we are dealing with a deadly and mutating enemy, one which, to date, has killed more than 2.7 million people worldwide. 2.7 million lives. That’s exactly the population of the City of Toronto.
If you are a younger adult, someone in their 20s, 30s or 40s, it’s become easier to believe that, while you could obviously become a carrier of the virus at any time, that your own personal health is not at any great risk. And while the first and second waves of the pandemic have proven the deadliest for elderly populations, epidemiologists are warning that the third wave is spurred at least partially by new “variants of concern” – mutations of the virus – which are proving to be more dangerous for more younger adults than the initial strain.
While the second wave rose as the autumn brought shorter and colder days, the third wave comes as days are getting longer and warmer, and that brings with it some comfort. The weather provides an easier escape from our homes, with more of us more inclined to spend more time outside, puttering in flowerbeds and gardens, sitting on patios, or hiking through the spring woods.
The biggest difference this time around, though, is of course the vaccine. There are now multiple brands of vaccine being distributed throughout the world, with millions of doses expected to arrive in Canada this week. On the ground in Haliburton County, healthcare and frontline workers as well as first responders have received their first vaccinations. Inoculations of the general public are getting underway at designated vaccination clinics in the community, beginning this week with those aged 80 and older. Who’d have suspected two years ago, when the old Minden arena was being torn down, that the first time inside the new one for many of us would be to get a needle shoved into our arm?
While it will likely still be several months until those of us lower on the priority list get our opportunity to register for vaccinations, there is a great sense of hope as our grandparents and parents begin to get the vaccine. There is a sense of hope that maybe we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Here comes the sun. Hold on.