Since starting at the 100 Mile Free Press in March probably 60 percent of the stories I’ve written have been about, or influenced directly, by COVID-19.
It’s hard to find people untouched by the pandemic these days in the 11 months since officials in Wuhan first began noticing a pneumonia-like disease that would reshape society. In fact, the only people I can think of whose lives haven’t changed are the Indigenous people still living a hunter-gatherer lifestyle and not in contact with society.
Last week, of course, Donald Trump, the President of the United States, ostensibly the leader of the free world and most powerful man on the planet, contracted COVID-19. Now, there’s a lot to unpack there.
There is some grim karma in the fact that a man who has routinely downplayed the virus, spread falsehoods and mocked those who took it seriously, has now himself contracted it. Likewise, his behaviour – whenever it was that he learned he had tested positive for the virus – illustrates how important it is to take the virus seriously. At least a dozen prominent members of the U.S. government and White House have now tested positive for the virus as well following a Rose Garden event on Sept. 26 where there were few masks and little social distancing.
Now you might be asking, how is this related to a 100 Mile House kid?
What this illustrates is that we need to remain vigilant and careful as this year progresses. COVID-19 cases have been on the rise in B.C. and our provincial government made the brilliant choice to call a snap election this October. While we’ve been fortunate to have no cases in 100 Mile House due to our size and relative isolation, we can’t rely on that forever.
It was pointed out to me by a colleague last week that, when interviewing elderly people, it’s probably best I wear a mask even in our office. While I personally haven’t come anywhere close to COVID-19 hotspots, it’s an example of how 11 months in we can become complacent.
On a sombre note, the number of COVID-19 cases has passed more than a million people this past week. That’s more than the entire population of Edmonton, the city I grew up in. It puts those numbers in context and highlights the severity of this pandemic.
So I’d encourage everyone to continue to care for one another, wash and sanitize your hands and wear masks in indoor public places.
If we are lucky, COVID-19 will never darken our doorstep but if the White House itself isn’t safe, nothing is out of the question.