It’s starting to feel like pandemic Groundhog Day: André Picard
2020-09-14 from theglobeandmail.com
“Coronavirus Cases Continue to Climb in Canada.”
“Officials Are Not Acting Fast Enough to Catch and Control Spread of New Cases.”
“Hospitals See Surge in Coronavirus Cases, with Ontario, Quebec of Greatest Concern.”
“Five Companies at the Forefront of Race to Find Coronavirus Vaccine.”
“As Coronavirus Cases Rise, Should Schools Remain Open?”
“Young People Don’t Get a Pass With COVID-19.”
All of these headlines would blend seamlessly into today’s newspaper. Yet, every one of these stories was published six months ago, in mid-March.
This pandemic is beginning to feel a lot like Groundhog Day.
Worse yet, the seemingly endless loop of bad news is creating a “bone-deep sense of weariness and resignation,” to quote an article by Dr. Bernard Trappey in the Journal of the American Medical Association. He notes that the relentless state of alert has left health professionals burned out. Surely, parents and other family caregivers aren’t too far behind in the running-on-fumes department.
We wake up each day not only with the same news headlines, but with the same challenges, the same frustrations and, in many cases, a growing feeling of hopelessness.
Of course, things are different in September than they were in March. Or at least the baseline is different.
In March, all of Canada’s confirmed cases of COVID-19 were among foreign travellers. The first known case of community transmission was reported on March 5 in Vancouver and it set off another sentinel event, an outbreak in a long-term care facility. Canada’s first COVID-19 death was a few days later, March 8.
The 200-some cases and single death in mid-March have, over six months, swelled into more than 137,000 cases and more than 9,000 deaths.
Things were going relatively well for a while. In late June, daily cases dipped below 200. But we never did quite get control of the outbreak before impatiently loosening restrictions. Now we are seeing 700-plus cases a day and a troublesome upward trend.
We need to be aware that, in a pandemic, things can escalate quickly. Consider France, which went from fewer than 500 cases a day in mid-June to a staggering 9,000 cases in a single day last week.
That’s the price of complacency.
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