Dispatches from Digby by Shawnalynn Cromwell
It is the first anniversary of COVID-19 becoming a full-fledged pandemic. We have been in limbo, and the worst is not over yet, even with the influx of vaccines. Canada is the only country in the world to have acquired four different vaccines. That is a “shot” that should cause at least some relief or celebration.
But with the many variants of the virus and the potential for more to develop we cannot let down our guard just yet. We need to practice the many things that have kept us safe for a year now—like hand washing, wearing masks, using hand sanitizer, social distancing, coughing into our arms, avoiding nonessential travel, and sticking with small gatherings of persons within our bubbles.
For all of us, this is and has been a tremendously stressful and exhausting year. It is like the world has spent the year in slow motion. Older segments of the world’s population have experienced pandemics like the Spanish Flu and the Polio Epidemic, but most of us are too young to remember — except for SARS, which was on a much smaller scale.
This pandemic has forever changed the world — we, as a society, will never go back to the before times. And yes, I did utter that now well-known phrase, the “before times.” It seems we are learning and speaking more and more new jargon almost every day. Another one would be “pivot,” especially with companies shifting their typical production over to producing PPE — Personal Protective Equipment). When we started using the acronym PPE, I kept saying, what the heck is PPE??? They threw it into the word-verse so quickly it gave most of us whiplash!
The work structure also went into a complete transformation – no more commuting into the office for some of us. “Get your home office ready — it is time to start working from home.” It’s time to “ZOOM-ZOOM” on a screen that looks into the living room, bedroom or kitchen of your co-workers and boss. Your choice of Zoom space could be whatever your heart’s desire. If it was summer, you could Zoom from your deck. But please remember to wear pants — and try not to wear your sweats if possible. Female office attire was replaced by comfortable pair of black leggings paired with a dressy top and maybe a cardigan. The guys have opted to go with a dress shirt, and a tie if they feel the meeting calls for more of a kick of professionalism! With the pandemic reaching a year, people are experiencing Zoom fatigue, and yes, this is real! Eye strain and eye issues have hit an all-time high — with some logging in at times for up to twelve hours of screen time a day.
The before times… when we could gather with family and friends, hug people, eat in a restaurant, go to a bar, go to the gym (well, not me personally), travel, go to the salon, go and do anything without any precautions! But that was then this is now. I swear some people think that the pandemic is intentionally raining on their parade. “Gee, I think I am going skiing (person from out of province) in BC – I need some downtime and fun!” That downtime and fun could kill you and others you come into contact with on your “for pleasure”!
We are in this for a while, and people are doing a lot of self-talk right now. The vaccines are a light at the end of the tunnel, but it is a very long tunnel! I know there will be people who will throw caution to the wind once they are vaccinated, and these are the people that I am afraid of — because they will go completely overboard.
I hope the anniversary of the pandemic and roll-out of vaccines; our futures will help people to start looking up, regardless of the ones that will go back to the “before times” without a thought. We will have to keep doing what we have been doing all along to help our world get to the other side of this. To be able to truly begin to live again without holding one arm behind our backs — with fingers crossed.
Zoom Fatigue Article:
Pandemic Vocabulary Article:
Shawnalynn Cromwell is a community ambassador with Inspiring Communities’ nested initiative Turning the Tide in Digby. Shawnalynn is a writer, changemaker and active community member in Weymouth Falls.
Cover photo – Fusion Medical Animation, Unsplash.