I remember being a child at the time of the Cuba Missile Crisis. I stood with my equally young friends trying to understand the news of the day and believing that a Russian launch of nuclear weapons over night could end our lives. It was an existential threat. My generation in the western world has had few existential threats. The immediately previous generations had world wars, the Spanish flu, small pox, etc. We fortunately have not, but as a result have little idea how to react.
We will survive the current pandemic. It’s impact on China is already significantly reduced. Some of us will become sick, as we presently do from other causes. Unfortunately there will be deaths as already occur from other causes. Every additional death from Covid 19 will be a loss that we should attempt to avoid. But life will go on. We need to do our best to follow the advice of our public health authorities, but not panic. I feel like I have finally come into my own. I have been social distancing for over sixty years. And previously I thought it was being socially inept. All I have to do is increase my hand washing.
I feel great sympathy for those who have contracted the virus and the families of those who have died. I also feel sympathy for affected business owners and employees of shut down industries. When recent studies show the large number of North Americans living pay cheque to paycheque, it is easy to see the financial hardship being suffered apart from the virus itself. And then there is the impact of the plunge of the financial markets and its effect on pensions and RRSPs. Actually when I look at my recent RRSP results I feel less concerned about contracting the virus.
My heart attack last September was a positive experience for me, in that I survived it and learned much about myself. I know I am in a higher risk category for the virus because of the heart event but I am confident that this will be a learning event as well. Will I proceed in a balanced way without panic, exhibiting compassion and help towards others? Will I remind myself of the importance of my family as I hold them tighter recognizing the risks of the virus? I hope so. And lastly the question that has apparently become most important for all of us in North America, will I have enough toilet tissue?
Photo by Pamela Palmer
GERALD EDWARD PALMER, LLB
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