Second coming of COVID

 In Opinion

Health officials are saying the dreaded second wave of COVID-19 could be building.
When the pandemic first hit our shores, we were in a state of shock. So much was unknown and we didn’t know how to prepare ourselves for the lockdown that swiftly followed.
Months later, we have learned to live with the virus as best we can.
Health officials and politicians are quick to praise us for doing our part to keep the numbers down, sparing the health care system from a flood of sickness.
Now, as the number of cases continue to rise locally and in Ontario, we are being asked once again to be extra vigilant and slow the spread. Simcoe Muskoka’s medical officer of health, this week has asked that people shrink their bubbles and think twice before attending any large gatherings.
The reality is that with the opening of schools and now, the commencement of indoor organized sports as the arena in Stayner prepares to open, some people are congregating for the first time since March.
There may be evidence that homemade cloth masks offer some protection in reducing the spread of the virus but it appears the hard science isn’t there yet. We trust that wearing the mask is better than not wearing a mask, and we hope it is effective in protecting others. Regardless, health officials continually tell us that what we really need to do to slow the spread of the virus is stay away from each other, and wash our hands.
We believe we can do this and still move about the community. In fact, it is essential to avoid another lockdown.
The shock of the first wave doesn’t compare to the dread of a second wave. It will be much harder emotionally to have to go back to Stage 2 of the economic shutdown, knowing we could be there for months.
We know there are issues that are dividing our community right now, and that dialogue is important, but we must keep our eye on the prize when it comes to the pandemic and adopt a one-for-all mentality, as a region, and as a province.
We must stay the course so we can keep businesses open, and people working. There is much uncertainty about what a second wave would entail in terms of financial aid. If schools were to close again and people are forced to go home, there will need to be another round of government subsidies.
This all pales in the comparison to concerns over our health. We do not want to lose anyone to the virus. Its long-term effects are not known and we must abandon the notion that young people are more resilient to it than others. Everyone is at risk and we must continue to be safe.
Please continue to follow all of the protocols set out by public health officials. It is our best chance to lessen the severity of the inevitable second wave and avoid going back into lockdown.

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