When and how will decision be made to return to normal?
It is time to start having the conversation about when we restart life and how we proceed.
In B.C. we reached a peak of 539 active cases of COVID-19 on March 26. The rate of growth of cases on Vancouver Island has reduced to a trickle with no indication of how many remain active. Province-wide more than half the people who have tested positive have fully recovered.
It is evident that we will not quickly return to “normal” and probably we will always practise more social distancing than we have in the past. It is very probable that the spread of all communicable diseases will be reduced annually and life will be much more healthy.
But we also need to recognize that our way of life has always incorporated greater social distancing than most places around the world. Downtown Duncan is never as crowed as a normal day in New York, London or Tokyo. We do not have near riots in front of stores like the U.S. has on Black Friday. We do not have crowded mass transit like big cities worldwide. I have not heard about anyone having a party to spread the virus and develop “herd immunity” like has occurred on the eastern seaboard of the U.S. and no political leader has recommended hugging random Chinese people on the street like occurred in Italy. Realistically our normal day-to-day life incorporates more personal space than most people in the world; we have chosen to walk up two flights of stairs rather than push 20 into an elevator and ride to the 40th floor.
So what is the metric that tells us we are free to leave our homes? Do we start by engaging in outdoor activities while still restricting mass gatherings? Is there a difference between a walk around the track at the Sportsplex and a walk on a golf course and when can we do either or both? Is it reasonable for us to wait until it is declared safe for people in the large eastern cities before we resume an active life?
We know that Theresa Tam is not thinking about the Cowichan Valley with her recommendations, it is unlikely that Bonnie Henry has the time to think about our Valley in her deliberations. It would be irresponsible for them to try to address the situation in small communities with comments that could be misconstrued as applying to the higher density communities like Vancouver. It is far too complicated for authorities to make these decisions; think of how a city size declaration would apply to Duncan and North Cowichan. E.g. Communities under 5,000 can return to normal but above that people need to stay at home.
Without a local authority that has the resources to make the evaluation and change situation are we condemned to be lumped in with Vancouver from a public health perspective? I am not sure that we have ever had this conversation and not sure how we manage to discuss the issue calmly and rationally.