So we’re back home after our adventures in Winnipeg and Ottawa and I returned to work first thing yesterday morning. It was good to sleep in our own beds Tuesday night. Even while on vacation we stayed up to date on the major events happening in the world, including the spread of COVID 19.
As I write this, there have been no confirmed cases in Saskatchewan, but there are 108 in Canada, including 14 in our neighbouring province to the west, Alberta. The impact of the virus is extensive. The World Health Organization reports that as of Wednesday night at about 9:20 Eastern, there had been almost 120,000 cases worldwide, and nearly 4,300 deaths. The entire country of Italy is in lock-down because of how bad it is there right now.
People have been stranded on cruise ships. Events such as SXSW in Austin Texas and the World Women’s Hockey Championship, which was to be held in Halifax and Truro, Nova Scotia have been cancelled. I work in higher education and several conferences have been either cancelled or are going to be delivered, somehow, online. I’ve also been reading emails and news items about universities such as Harvard, Norte Dame, and the entire State and City university systems in New York have or are very soon moving all of their courses to an online format. Trade is disrupted and finger pointing abounds.
In the midst of all of this, I’ve heard / read about people complaining about cancelled events, shifts in work-priorities, the stock market, etc.
Here’s the thing, people who are sick can complain. People who were already struggling financially and have had their work hours cut or their own business is faltering because of this virus can complain. People who are worried about how they’re going to pay the bills if they or a loved one ends up in the hospital (of course, not in Canada) can complain.
People who had a concert or sporting event they were going to that’s been cancelled, or who are trying to add to their already large stock-pile of toilet paper and their grocery store is out, or any other such trivial matter compared to everything else going on, may not, I repeat may not, complain.
This is a time when we need to be our best selves. We need to show compassion. We need to show common-sense. We need to show charity. We need to show how if we work together for the greater good we can ease suffering and solve problems. We can’t do any of that if those of us who are healthy, have a place to live, food in our bellies, don’t focus on the things that really matter.