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Lessons learned from COVID-19

Spin-offs from COVID-19 as real as the virus itself
Etty Cameron is a retired teacher and author who has lived in Canada for over 40 years. Photo: supplied by Etty Cameron

As COVID-19 continues its surge, it remains important that we stay focused on getting our primary information and advice from qualified health care professionals, many of who we have come to know during this crisis. Furthermore, we should learn to trust that they have our best interests at heart. Let us examine some spin-offs from the virus, that are being publicly demonstrated by a large number of people.

Spin-off #1. Invincibility: Health care advisers concur that not all persons will suffer from the virus. Many seem to claim invincibility from this statement. They feel they are among those who will not contract the virus, and if they do, it is no big thing. This could not be farther from the truth. Let us ask ourselves what guarantee we have to prove that we are invincible, when at present there is no vaccine to help those affected by this virus. Seniors in particular should be wary of those who downplay the seriousness of the virus.

Spin-off #2. Selfish Acts:  People who claim invincibility tend to practice reckless behaviors. In so doing they show blatant disregard for their own health and the well being of others around them. By appearing in groups, partying with friends, and staying in close proximity to folk who are not part of their household, such selfish acts jeopardize the health of those involved and may lead to community spread of the virus, while at the same time showing contempt for safety precautions and restrictions.

Spin-0ff #3. Prophetic interpretations: There are people who hold up signs along the road side with warnings of dire consequences. One such sign reads, ‘the end is near.’ How we interpret this sign is arbitrary. To some people it may be a confirmation of their beliefs, to others it might seem a preposterous assumption. Whichever way we look at it, we are forced to reflect, to ponder issues pertaining to our lives. Such a sign could become the topic of discussion or debate as you stay home.

Spin-off #4. Diarrhea: Before medical advisers started their daily briefings, there was a rumour circulating that a side effect of the virus was severe diarrhea in humans. This led to panic among people who went out stocking up on toilet paper and subsidiary products. Massive hoarding of select items led to a temporary shortage. Some hoarders tried to sell back these products at exorbitant prices until their illegally profiteering ventures were cut short by government intervention. To date, diarrhea has not been identified among the symptoms of COVID-19. Remember, rumours spread like wild fire. It is sometimes hard to establish the source and it cannot be readily contained.

Spin-off #5. Stress. COVID -19 causes disruptions in people’s lives around the world. As people are advised to stay home, self- isolate, quarantine and maintain social distancing, many get claustrophobic. Others don’t adapt easily to new routines and others still have lost their jobs. And with mouths to feed, with limited or no income available, stress becomes a factor in people’s lives. Ultimately, stress may lead to a serious breakdown in health, compounding an already difficult situation. Since there is no certainty about the duration of the pandemic and when a vaccine will come about, some people become hopelessly stressed.

Scientists around the world are racing to find a cure, and governments are putting relief measures in place to help alleviate the hardships, fears, and anxieties, that exist in all sectors of their population. We can relieve stressful situations by not becoming overwhelmed by excessive exposure to COVID -19 news. We must establish and stick to our individual tolerance levels. Avoid listening to the news continually, get updates from reputable sources, lessen our visits to websites, and don’t entertain gossip that can confuse and create greater stress.

Etty Cameron is an author and retired educator.