Opinion: If there ever was a time for community, it’s now

Wow. The world is a very different place than it was just two weeks ago. Without question, this will be another moment that we will not soon forget. 

A few weeks ago, people were joking that coronavirus was caused by drinking a Corona. It’s not so funny anymore. The virus is spreading, and the restrictions tightening. And it’s not changing any time soon.

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More than ever before, it is time for community. Time for helping others. Time for being a good citizen.

The grocery stores are packed, and some shelves empty quickly. Some people are grabbing all they can, or assuming it’s just another day. It’s not. The whole toilet paper hoarding thing perplexes me, but I guess if you are asked to stay home for 14 days in self-isolation, you don’t want to run out. I’m just wondering what the sales will be like in two months when things quieten down, but some people have a three-year supply.

Being in public seems almost strange. People are keeping a distance as we’ve been asked to, but the streets are quiet, the shops empty. Anyone who sniffles, or God forbid coughs, is stared at, and shuffled away from. I know the feeling – I got chicken pox when I was 30, and had sores all over my face. I’m sure people thought I had something much worse. It’s true what they say – you can feel people’s stares.

I’ve been watching the Johns Hopkins website tracking the outbreak. It updates frequently with new cases, recoveries and, unfortunately, deaths. One thing that doesn’t get reported enough is recoveries. As I write this, there are 181,000 reported cases and 78,000 recoveries. For the most part, people who get it have mild to moderate symptoms. It’s not the person who has it that’s the issue, it’s the person they might pass it to. And so on.

All these dramatic precautions are designed to “flatten the curve.” There will be more cases, but overwhelmed facilities trying to manage the number of patients is the problem. Just take a look at Italy to see what could happen. That is the scenario governments are trying to avoid, and for good reason.

What lessons can we take from this? Finding out how all this started and stop doing that would be a good first step. This also gives us an indication of what could happen in another catastrophe, one that would be much, much worse, like the earthquake we are supposed to have. If you weren’t prepared for 72 hours of this, you aren’t prepared for 72 hours when there’s no electricity, no movement and no stores.

For the time being, we have to be vigilant, but we also need to remember that we can’t get through this without each other. We need to respect each other’s space, we need to remember that our actions could affect the lives of others. We need patience. We need calm. And we will get through this.

Together.

Brad Sherwin, MBA is a long-time resident of South Delta, and has over 30 years’ experience in marketing, public relations and business strategy. He teaches marketing at Douglas College, coaches hockey goalies and is past president of Deltassist.

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