You think you’re sick of the COVID-19 pandemic?
What about the frontline workers, the doctors, nurses, paramedics, grocery store and other retail clerks, municipal staffers etc. and yes, even us in the media?
Sure, when this thing began last winter and spring, there was a public outpouring of support and even adulation.
But that was before the fatigue started setting in. It was also before we had the kind of numbers we are now starting to see.
We have been relatively lucky in northwest B.C. The alarming sickness and death, the overwhelming of health-care systems, the ridiculous conspiracy theory-based protests and flaunting of health measures being experienced in some other parts of the world, and even Canada, has not (yet) become a visceral part of our lives locally.
Nor has the disgusting abuse, and even violence, toward those workers being perpetrated in many places.
That is not to say it is not right and good to question certain aspects of the response: the lack of transparency in reporting local statistics; unchecked spending for which we have little indication of its effectiveness; separating vulnerable seniors from their loved ones; the scope and efficacy of specific guidelines.
There are ways of going about levelling those criticisms, such as the B.C. Teachers Federation lobbying government for modifications to the back-to-school plan.
One way that is completely unacceptable, however, is abusing frontline workers, who are in no way responsible for either the pandemic itself or the response to it. Yes, it is happening here; we’ve heard anecdotes and we feel it every time we post a new story.
We have been lucky in the Northwest, so far. That can change, and is, in fact, already changing in a big hurry. In just one month, the number of cases in the Smithers Local Health Area (Houston to Witset) more than doubled from 19 for all of January through the end of September to 42 at the end of October.
As of Sunday, worldwide, at least 54.7 million people have been infected and at least 1.3 million have died. We know from past pandemics that those numbers are likely quite low compared to the actual toll.
This thing is real and it is going to get worse before it gets better. Individually, we have no control over big picture events, but we can control how we respond to each other, particularly those who have no choice but to be out there every day in the face of it.
Aretha Franklin leaps to mind.
Show a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T.