I watch the news daily. I watch Canadian news, American news, British news and European news. When I see what’s going on around the world, specifically regarding the Covid-19 pandemic, I shake my head in disbelief. I have never been more proud to be Canadian. We, as a nation, have done well in battling this virus.
Admittedly, we had two key advantages at the onset:
Advantage 1 – Canada’s population spread: Although Canada is the second largest country by land mass in the world, our population of a mere 38 million means that other than a few large cities, our people live farther apart; so spread of disease over the entire country is less likely. This has been evidenced by how well our Atlantic Provinces and Territories are doing.
Advantage 2 – Canada’s Health Care System: Not only does our Health Care System allow most to get ‘free’ medical services, which fosters early testing and attention; but also hospitals can shift money around within from one department to another enabling them to react quickly.
We’re not perfect and we have some shameful blemishes on our Covid-19 track record. We should be conscience-stricken by the conditions in our long-term care facilities and Indigenous populations. While we’ve made some headway in these areas, there’s still a lot of improvement required. And, yes, (insert eye roll) we have some ‘anti-mask’ yahoos.
So, why has Canada done so well? For starters, we listened to the World Health Organization. Our politicians paid attention to the scientists. Our doctors heard the early reports of an overwhelmed hospital system from Italy. Then our ‘first lady’, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, tested positive. Our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, self-isolated for 14 days.
Where Donald Trump failed, Trudeau led by example: Trudeau appeared daily socially distanced on the steps of Rideau Cottage (where he lives), let his hair and beard grow, and held online meetings all to model effective behaviour to Canada and the world.
The rest of the world should take note. In Canada, our major political parties all came together to show solidarity in the fight against the pandemic. There might have been some jeering back and forth, but for the most part: left, right and middle; federal, provincial and local, politicians have shared in the common goal of making sure Canadians knew exactly what was happening and what they could do about it. Lawmakers but their party lines aside to work together. Even right wing Ontario Premier, Doug Ford, praised federal actions; and although not well-liked by all, continues to exhibit leadership.
It’s not over yet. Now we’re in the second wave. American journalist Brian Williams recently said, “It’s been theorized the Canadians these days must feel like the people living in the apartment over the meth lab.” Did he ever get that right! As daily positive test ratios are above 5% in many States, and they’re still at 2.6% in Canada; we were getting nervous about the potential spread over the boarder. That’s been alleviated by the election of Joe Biden who we are confident will do everything possible to eradicate this pandemic. (Good on you, America!) The trouble is, we still have two months before he takes office.
We have learned so much about how the virus spreads and how to stay safe. Yet, the re-opening phases just before wave two hit have led some people to be lax in their safety practices. With Diwali now and American Thanksgiving approaching, so many folks are ignoring scientific advice and travelling for holidays. What is wrong with people? We’re in the home stretch and we must be vigilant: hunker down, socially distance when you’re out, stick to your familial bubble, wash your hands…and WEAR A MASK!