QThe photo above is taken from the Washington Post today.
It shows the obituaries section of a community paper in the northern province of Bergamo in Italy, where obituaries normally take up 2 or 3 pages. In recent days, there have been 10 or 11 pages. The measures we have and are taking in BC and elsewhere are so things like that, don’t happen here.
Like all of you, I have been watching things develop since day 1. But the mention of this dental conference in yesterdays press conference caught my eye for several reasons.https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/pacific-dental-conference-attendees-exposed-covid19-1.5499437
It was a spectacular day today.
Blue sky, snow capped peaks, the kind of day that makes you smile after a long winter. And a friend messaged me after posting my pics and asked: ” How can we be happy right now ?”
” It’s simple.” I said. ” Joy was not made to be a crumb” and sent her one of my favourite Mary Oliver poems. I shared it with other friends online and thought perhaps some of you might find wisdom and even ‘permission’ to still find joy amid this uncertainty….
It’s still ok to be happy. It doesn’t make you less concerned or a bad person. We can’t change what’s already happened. We can only do our part to help here, right now by flattening the curve. And this is where the wisdom of Mary Oliver fits right in…
” If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate.
Give in to it.
There are plenty of lives and whole towns destroyed or about to be. We are not wise, and not very often kind.
And much can never be redeemed.
Still life has some possibility left. Perhaps this is its way of fighting back, that sometimes something happened better than all the riches or power in the world.
It could be anything, but very likely you notice it in the instant when love begins.
Anyway, that’s often the case.
Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid of its plenty.
Joy is not made to be a crumb. (Don’t Hesitate)
~ Mary Oliver
Some of y’all might be offended by the profanity in the hashtag above,but one man in Germany is not. And when I saw this, I had to share it because it gets peoples attention quick.
Frustrated with what he perceived to be the slow action of many countries in undertaking proactive measures to slow down the spread of Covid-19, he created the website https://staythefuckhome.com/, and penned the Self-Quarantine Manifesto seen below:
His simple one page, easy to read website details how and why it is important to “Flatten the Curve”.
Anything above the dotted line in the steep curve, is the zone where we do not want to be, regardless of who you are.
Because if we don’t take proper precautions among the healthy and younger who have minimal or no impact from this virus, we continue to spread it among those who can’t: the elderly, the immune compromised and those with chronic diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and lung disease.
If we all don’t work to do whatever we can to help slow the spread of this virus, we could end up like Italy….they undertook ‘flatten the curve’ mitigation measures too late to actually flatten the curve of the chart above.
The result? A sudden spike in critical cases that swamp hospitals all at once, resulting in a virtual healthcare disaster where decisions have to be made on who gets care and who doesn’t. Italy’s situation is the steep curve on the chart above. We. Don’t. Want. That. Here.
I explained to a fellow online yesterday in no uncertain terms how it quickly can go from fine to unmanageable overnight using our local healthcare as an example.
Our local hospital is routinely at or over 100% capacity at the best of times. If even 20 critical patients requiring special care like ventilation showed up within a short time, it would be a problem.
If more kept coming as days moved on, it’s not hard to envision the result. Not enough ventilators, not enough anesthesiologists, not enough doctors, not enough anything.
Now, some selfish people *still* might think: “Well that doesn’t impact me!!” ….until they end up in a car accident and need care and can’t get it, or their spouse has a heart attack or their kid breaks a leg badly while skiing…you get the idea. We need to make sure hospitals keep functioning for everyone. Don’t clog the ER with minor issues. (You shouldnt anyways)
If we flatten the curve, aka, make sure we slow the progress of this virus so a spike of patients doesnt overwhelm our hospitals at once, nurses and doctors can treat *everyone* with the best care. And we can avoid what is happening in Italy. I don’t believe anyone wants to see this. Slow the spread of cases and flatten the curve. Slower is better.
These small actions by all of us, have big impact and are the heart of what makes a community work in any situation.
We all need to step up at different times, and that time is now. We need to protect our elders and those who are at risk for more severe cases and YOU can do that by doing the suggestions on the list above that you are able to, depending on where you are. So far urban areas are seeing more cases than rural areas, but DO NOT assume that means it isn’t there already.
In the midst of thinking about what you can do personally, it’s also really important to ensure that if you know any elders who may not have resources or support like family close by, that you *call* and make sure they have food or medication. (Take precautions by leaving it outside the door, even if you feel fine. You may have it, and not have symptoms yet or at all )
The same goes for checking in with those who disabilities, mobility issues or may have anxiety…anything that may be preventing then from going out to get what they need. A lot of people might just need some reassurance that someone is looking out for them, and does care. A call can do wonders.
The vast majority of us will be just fine, and thankfully kids and teens don’t seem to be impacted. Life and business must carry on, but with proper precautions. I’m glad to see so many organizations cancel events and so many large companies telling employees to work from home where they can. I also encourage all employers to be understanding and not punitive. This isn’t something anyone can plan for, and businesses who make it easy for employees to be absent if sick, will be appreciated.
So please, do your part to #FlattenTheCurve and #StayTheFuckHome, or practice other social distancing to keep all our mums and dads, grandpas and grandmas, aunties and uncles and all those with high risk conditions
Novel coronavirus information:
Health information 8-1-1
** these numbers are VERY busy. Please see the BC Center for Disease Control link above for information on what to do if you have symptoms and may have been exposed.
** updates in the comments as I see them
Having been through the H1N1 pandemic of 2009 that many Canadians seem to either not remember, or maybe were too young to have paid attention, Covid-19 hasn’t particularly freaked me out.
People tend to forget that even the average seasonal flu is already a deadly illness for seniors, for those with chronic health conditions and for those who are immune compromised. Government stats show that hundreds die in Canada every year already from flu or flu related complications.
This is why we have flu vaccines- it might not totally prevent flu but it can help reduce the impact of it, if you do catch it. And it can help slow the spread of flu among vulnerable communities , something many also tend to forget about..
But the one thing not being considered by politicians – who enjoy good salaries and benefits – in the effort to get people to stay home when and if they get sick, is that most people can’t afford to go two days without pay, let alone two weeks.
Not all employers offer paid leave or flex days, and not all workers have vacation time to fall back on. Most people live paycheque to paycheque. Many are behind a month already on a bill or two…if not all of them.
It’s not remotely realistic to think that people will or can self isolate at all, if you have to feed your family and pay rent or mortgage. Why do politicians forget this? Landlords are already eager to evict so they can raise rents. People can’t risk housing and food.
If the government truly wants to help halt the spread of Covid -19 now that it is here, they need to look to how Japan is quickly acting:
Japan’s government says it will pay up to about 80 dollars per person per day to businesses as income compensation for parents taking leave from work in response to temporary school closures that began nationwide.
The health and labor ministry on Monday revealed the details of a new subsidy system as the government strives to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.
The ministry will pay the subsidy of up to 8,330 yen per person per day to businesses if their employees take paid leave to take care of their children due to school closures.
It’ll also offer stipend in cases where employees care for people suspected of having been infected with the virus.
The measure will cover regular and non-regular workers who take leave between February 27 and March 31.
The ministry plans to determine and announce soon how the system will be implemented
Here in Canada, a similar solution that is more directly worker oriented, is to make anyone ordered/asked to self isolate or anyone who has to take care of someone who must self isolate, immediately eligible for sickness EI benefits by waiving the waiting period and processing payments immediately instead of taking 28 days.
Processing applications immediately is key, as most EI applications sit for the full 28 days before payment is let go, then backdated. We can’t wait that long if we want to keep sick or exposed people in isolation.
In the event a widespread outbreak occurs here, continue the payments for the period deemed to assist containment as they have in Japan.
As well, people are already posting letters and signs from employers stating if they miss too many shifts they will either lose fulltime hours or be fired. The province should ensure that non union workers know their rights surrounding this kind of situation, in their daily press conferences.
Problem solved. ( how long will it take the feds to act? Clocks ticking)
And for those who aren’t caring “because it’s the elderly and sick who it targets”, stop being selfish.
Viruses like this can kill those undergoing cancer treatments, those with chronic conditions like asthma and copd, and any immune compromised patient. That might include one of your family members or friends. Think about that.