Coronavirus – ripples in the Glebe

Brewer Arena opened on March 13 as a COVID-19 Community Assessment Centre operated by staff of the Ottawa Hospital, where walk-ins can be assessed and tested for the coronavirus. Medical staff were met by long lineups of those waiting to be tested.  Photos: Roger Smith

The Glebe is a safe and cosy place. But we are reminded this month, with the onslaught of COVID-19 and its ramifications, of our essential interconnectedness with the rest of the city, the country, the world. We’re all in this together, we humans.

Some of us will become sick with the coronavirus, but we have an excellent medical and health system to support us. We can be cautiously optimistic.

For most of us, it will be the ripple effect of the coronavirus that will have the most impact on our lives.

Many of us will lose precious income during this pandemic, with businesses shutting down, unpaid sick days during self-isolation, layoffs and lost income from cancelled events and activities, investments that sink precipitously.

As well, in the wake of the many cancellations and postponements of group events and entertainments, we are thrown back on our own resources to entertain ourselves. Now is the time for solitary occupations, especially outdoors.

Some time spent online, yes, but perhaps also finding a good book to read; trying your hand at writing a short story or a poem; practising your long-neglected musical instrument. Calling friends you only see occasionally because you don’t have time. Doing some last-chance cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. Starting your running training.

For parents, with school, day care and children’s programs cancelled, this stretch of time spent with your children by force of circumstance may be remembered years later as a precious moment of connection and intimacy.

For people working at home, a moment to focus quietly on the fundamentals of your work, and appreciate more fully the camaraderie and often friendship found at work. For students also, a time to focus so that the academic year will not be lost. But time for a few close friends as well, at least by phone.

We will get through this and come out the other end. But once it’s over, will we look back and find something good that came of it? Some personal strength or sturdy bonds forged with others? Let’s hope.

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