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Learning to live with COVID

The risk is not gone, but a return to sweeping restrictions is unlikely to be tolerated
Smithers Interior News Editorial

Life involves risk.

All of us tolerate risk differently, but most of us take precautions to mitigate risks to varying degrees.

The past few months, since COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted, have been amazing. We have returned to pre-pandemic life for the most part, but it seems much better than before.

If nothing else, the past two and a half years have taught us to truly appreciate things we may have taken for granted in the past.

For newspapers everywhere, the summer of 2022 has been a welcome reprieve from the incessant reporting on the virus, its health implications and its controversial social impacts.

COVID-19 is not gone, however, and the Northern Health Authority is ‘bracing’ for a potential next wave in the fall according to Julia Pemberton, chief administrator for Northern Health Prince Rupert Regional Hospital and Haida Gwaii.

Northern Health, the other health authorities, the province and the feds will need to be circumspect in how they respond, however.

While most of us will never agree on the crazy conspiracy theories that drove a lot of the resistance in the past, that resistance is likely to pale in comparison to what they will encounter if they choose to try to once again impose the draconian measures that decimated businesses, alienated families and fractured communities.

We all still have a responsibility, however, to take the precautions available to reduce transmission of not just COVID-19, but all infectious diseases.

Handwashing, staying home when sick, getting vaccinated and getting booster shots are still our best defence against this and other diseases.

Perhaps most importantly, we have a responsibility to respect the varying degrees of risk tolerance of our fellow citizens.

It is probably safe to say that while COVID-19 has yet to be officially characterized as endemic rather than pandemic, that is where we effectively are with it.

It may seem heartless to actually come out and say that a manageable level of sickness and death are acceptable, which is perhaps why nobody ever says it. But that is exactly how authorities and we, as a society, treat many other threats such as influenza, to cite just one example.

Most of us dutifully, if not happily, complied the first time around when we knew nothing of the new threat and thought it would only be a couple of months.

Sweeping, ubiquitous and long-lasting restrictions are not likely to be tolerated again, however.

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