A Year Into the Pandemic – Have We Learned Anything?

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Not the End – But Maybe the End of the Beginning!

Thunder Bay – OPINION – Are we at the beginning of the end of the pandemic? Or are we at the end of the beginning?

There has been a lot of angst over the past year with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our first report on the virus, was on February 2, 2020 when the global death toll was at 350 people.

First Report on Coronavirus – February 3, 2020

At that point, it was still difficult to imagine what would happen.

We have seen lockdowns, restrictions on our daily lives, an economy hit so hard that despite all efforts, many businesses have been forced to close.

Now, let’s talk, a year into the pandemic about some ideas moving forward.

Reality is even at the government’s best goal, of having all Canadians vaccinated by September, and as we are being told there is light at the end of the tunnel, the truth is we have a long ways to go still before things in our lives can return to something like it was.

So right now, there is a lot of pressure on our provincial and federal leaders to ease off on the restrictions. We have some in our society actually claiming the whole pandemic is a hoax.

Heck there are people who still think the world is flat.

As far as I see it, and not being a medical expert or a trained economist, what I am wondering is if we are rushing things. Are we putting all the effort, all the sacrifices, and all the pain in the back seat so we can open the economy?

The coronavirus, COVID-19, and the new variants of the virus which are transmitted much easier and faster are just rearing their ugly head in Ontario and across Canada.

Ontario is headed into what many feel is the home stretch of a provincial lockdown.

The hope is on February 11, 2021 the doors will re-open and people can start up again.

Maybe though that is too soon, and maybe some of us, including political leaders are seeking to open things up because they are getting scared of the people more than the virus?

There have been small protests here in Thunder Bay. There have been larger protests in Toronto.

While most people are treating this situation with the full seriousness it deserves, the voices of a few yelling loudly should not be directing the country.

Frankly if Ontario pulls back the restrictions, takes our eye off the ball, puts the economy ahead of the lives of seniors, the lives of our loved ones, we are likely to see another spike a third wave of this virus.

We need, right now to show the kind of courage needed not to fight this “war” on COVID-19, we need to demonstrate the courage to win this war on COVID-19.

To be real, that is going to mean more sacrifice. It is going to cost all of us more money. We are going to need our government to show the leadership and courage to realize supporting our economy best won’t come from easing off, but rather from stepping up and supporting businesses, supporting people, and showing the needed leadership to get the job done.

Really, if you think of it, is there really any other real option?

If you look at this from a historical perspective, Canada has in our past shown real courage.

The courage to get through the First World War, the Great Depression, the Second World War, and all the dangers we have faced.

Are we willing to admit that now, in the fight to knock out COVID-19 our desire to go shopping is greater than the lives of Canadians?

Really?

During the Second World War, in the House of Commons, Port Arthur MP and “Minister of Everything” in the Liberal Government of Prime Minister MacKenzie King, C. D. Howe was questioned over the cost of war time armaments.

Howe responded about the high cost, “If we lose it won’t matter, and when we win we won’t care”.

In many ways that is exactly the attitude we need right now.

Instead of rushing to open, we should as a province and as a country realizing that the war isn’t over against this pandemic.

Right now we have a vaccine. That represents hope.

Perhaps in historical perspectives, this is more like El Alamin in 1942.

British Prime Minister Churchill said after the Allied victory, “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

That is where we are right now. The vaccine is a victory in the battle, but it is not the end of the battle.

Now no matter how much it pains us, now is the time to double down, not ease up.

We have all sacrificed so much. We are all missing the normal of our lives. May though, pushing and putting the victory ahead of everything else we can see things through to a total victory.

That of course is just my opinion, as always your mileage may vary.

James Murray