Life is all about finding balance.
Every day I’m balancing how much junk food I eat with actual food. How much writing I do with gaming. These balancing juggling acts are something we all do daily.
I am weighing whether or not I should plan to travel to Edmonton and visit my family this summer. It will have been a year of not seeing them but I’m also torn by the rising COVID-19 numbers across the country.
Despite lockdowns and restrictions on gatherings and the cancelling of most social events, COVID-19 still is spreading in this country. Indeed, Canada’s infection rate is 180 new cases per million people, and there’s a chance our infection rates might rise above the USA, per capita.
The situation has made me reflect on how well Canada has balanced public health and safety with individual rights.
Some of the public health restrictions seem unbalanced, if not odd, to me. For instance, you can’t dine in at a restaurant right now but you can eat food indoors at a soup kitchen. The only difference is one meal is for-profit and the other for charity. When I attended the local soup kitchen to take photos, the volunteers joked that restaurants just had to start offering free food.
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The same thing with churches. I understand the desire to eliminate possible contact and potential outbreaks, but spiritual health is important as well as physical health. In many churches and other places of worship, they are willing to strictly monitor their parishioners’ health and safety.
As we seem destined to go into another lockdown, I can’t help but wonder if there’s a call for a more nuanced approach or even a more stringent one. Perhaps we should be looking at other countries, like Australia, where life currently carries on as usual for the most part with sporting events, large gatherings and no mask requirements.
The only difference is that when a COVID-19 case is detected, millions of people go into snap lockdowns. Such measures have largely curbed the spread of the virus, it seems, and allowed people to return to normal life.
I feel the province’s back-and-forth volley of constant health mandates and restrictions, often made in response to outbreaks largely in the Lower Mainland, are leading to pandemic fatigue and complacency – and ultimately ongoing spread of the virus.
There’s no easy answer to keep a fair balance in the midst of a pandemic. All we can hope for is to keep our own scales balanced and trust everyone else will do the same.