British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry wears a face mask as she views the Murals of Gratitude exhibition in Vancouver, on Friday, July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry wears a face mask as she views the Murals of Gratitude exhibition in Vancouver, on Friday, July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Column: Let’s all be in this pandemic together

Opening Our Eyes by Nan Dickie

Let’s all be in this pandemic together

There was a huge spike in new COVID-19 cases in B.C. over the past week, with an average of 75 new cases each day.

The curve is now climbing at a higher rate than during the initial outbreak in March. Although dismaying, this should not come as a shock.

The number of contacts people are having are about 70 per cent of normal, despite the province recommending people keep our contacts to 60 per cent or lower to avoid a resurgence of cases.

As well, most of us are experiencing COVID-19 fatigue after five months of varying degrees of lockdown, leaving some people feeling frustrated and impatient.

Most people in B.C. have been following the regulations and protocols set and reinforced twice a week by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

Some of her words like,”Be kind, be calm and be safe,” and those of Adrian Dix, “We’re all in this together,” have become mantras. But mantras are simply words; these words must be translated into daily actions and commitments by each of us.

New provincial modelling shows B.C. could experience a second wave of the pandemic, bigger than the first, this fall.

It’s time for us to focus on the common good, not simply on what we think is good for ourselves individually.

We cannot rely on symptoms to tell us we have the virus.

Many people are asymptomatic. Contact tracing is becoming an excellent tool, but cannot be perfect unless absolutely everyone gives accurate contact information, receives a call and then self-isolates if required.

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Wearing masks has become mandatory in some sectors in Canadian provinces. Some local retailers and service providers require their staff, customers and clients to wear masks. This stipulation will no doubt broaden as we head into cooler weather, and spend more time indoors.

Some people resist wearing a mask because it doesn’t protect them from getting the virus. When I see someone wearing a mask in the grocery store (for instance), I think, “Thank you for considering the health of others.”

Some people resist wearing a mask because they think there are too many rules about how to wear them and how to keep them clean.

We are told that using a mask imperfectly is far better than not using one at all. Putting on a mask for the first few times may cause a person to feel self-conscious.

However, with repeated use, and with more people wearing masks, we become more comfortable wearing them.

The requirements for us all to be in this together changes week by week. We face increasing public health demands. Let us all be in this battle against the virus by doing ALL we need to do, together.

Nan Dickie is an author, speaker and former facilitator of a depression support group in Salmon Arm.

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