A sign of the times. Messages everywhere warn people to take measures to stop the spread of COVID-19. (Cheryl Trudell photo)

Editorial: COVID-19: we’re not out of the woods yet

Now is the time to be hopeful, absolutely. But it’s not yet the time to go out and have a big party

At the time of this writing the COVID-19 numbers in British Columbia were reason to be cautiously optimistic.

While each day when Dr. Bonnie Henry and provincial Health Minister Adrian Dix give their update there is still a steady stream of new cases, and often a few tragic new deaths, we have not seen the alarming spikes in those numbers that other provinces like Ontario and Quebec have — or spikes like Italy, Spain and the U.S. if one wants to look further afield. We can guardedly say that it looks like our province is successfully flattening that curve. The reality of what this means is that we are avoiding a huge surge in infections and deaths that would overwhelm our health care system, from hospital beds to critical equipment.

But note we say “is successfully flattening the curve”. Present tense. We aren’t done yet.

Now is the time to be hopeful, absolutely. But it’s not yet the time to go out and have a big street party — or even to have a group of friends over to the house, no matter how tempting it might be.

COVID-19 fatigue is definitely setting in at this point. Many of us have been stuck at home for weeks, the only break a careful and strategized trip to the grocery store, or a walk in the sun, staying studiously two metres from anyone you may see on your stroll. Some who are particularly vulnerable have chosen not to leave the safety of their homes at all. Humans are social creatures, by and large, and it is an unnatural way to live. But we can’t let up now, not when it looks like we’re collectively winning this fight.

Those things we’re doing to keep ourselves sane are more important than ever. Which is why we think that closing all provincial parks ahead of the Easter weekend was a mistake. We certainly understand the reasoning — making sure people don’t get too close to each other — but getting out into nature has been the only refuge for many in this highly stressful time. And unless municipalities also close all of their parks, it only serves to narrow people’s options and ensure there will be more people in a smaller space. Further, we think that most people are taking physical distancing very seriously, even when they are outdoors.

How seriously are people taking distancing and isolation measures? The story we published about a Cowichan couple who weren’t self-quarantining may be one of our most-read stories of all time.

Now is the time to persist, so we can get to the time when we look back on this and say, “remember COVID-19?”


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