This weekend has been lovely. There have been no critical messages from work. I’ve been able to prepare some meals for the week ahead and have been in touch with many of my family members and friends. I am living a very comfortable, very privileged life. Around me, however, there are cracks in people’s social isolation becoming evident.
Amid the virtual book clubs set up to help pass the time for some of my older friends, there is a concern for those in a retirement residence where there have been COVID-19 positive residents.
While it’s great that the Government of Canada is providing extra financial support, it’s evident that food banks are busier than ever. It’s evident that shelter beds are in short supply and that those who manage them realize that like retirement residences, their residents are also at greater risk for infection.
At work, it is evident that, just when we need people to stay home even more than before, some people are beginning to find isolation impossible. It may have felt to many at first as though it didn’t matter if day was night or night was day, until insomnia set in. Insomnia is the first symptom of many mental health conditions. Even as my colleagues and our teams become deployed for COVID-19 urgent tasks, all those who were managing isolation will begin not to manage. Who will look after mental health problems when most mental health professionals are managing COVID-19 tasks? The same will be true for doctors and clinics usually managing other non-COVID health concerns.
It is only beginning to dawn on people that we will be operating at a level where we can manage crises only for months to come. Even if we bend the curve, people will still get sick with COVID-19. They just won’t get sick as fast.
Each time, you heard it was “a marathon and not a sprint”, did you realize that no one knew the distance?
(This is an image of a statue at the Headquarters of the World Health Organization in Geneva commemorating Jonas Salk’s discovery of the Polio vaccine. Polio has virtually been eradicated thanks to vaccines. The last time the Government of Canada had to use measures such as physical isolation was in the 1950’s during the Polio epidemic.)