We’d been hearing about COVID-19 for a few months. I didn’t take it seriously at first. I thought it was another media scare similar to Ebola from several years back, which never even came geographically close to me. Everyone was scared but nothing ever seemed to come of it. COVID-19 started in China, and though the news stories were tragic, and the video clips of doctors collapsing were terrible to watch, I never felt personally at risk. At least not at first.
It all started to feel real on March 12th when the first infection hit Saskatchewan.
It became scary on March 16, when our premier Scott Moe Tweeted that schools all over the province were closing indefinitely. Schools closing in Saskatchewan is no small feat. We can get 6 feet of snow in the middle of January and schools won’t close for a single day. I left work at lunch time and picked my son up from school.
Like many I was glued to the news sites. I was refreshing CBC and the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center watching nervously as the numbers rolled in day after day. I wondered why people were buying so much toilet paper. I started to fear the store. I started to think about my asthma in a way I hadn’t before. Could this thing kill me?
Over the last month the numbers have steadily risen around the world. I’ve watched countries deal with it in different ways to various degrees of success and I’ve watched the world outside my door change in ways I didn’t think it could. As of the time I’m writing this, it’s been nearly a month since I have been in a store. Since I’m fortunate enough to have a job that allows me to work from home, I haven’t even left my house save for one time to drive around downtown to see how quiet it was, and let me tell you, it was.
Once things started to happen in the middle of March, things happened quickly. For a while, every day they were tightening up restrictions and closing more public spaces. Now only those deemed essential businesses are allowed to operate. It’s interesting to look at the world around me right now and acknowledge how much I took for granted the existence of certain businesses, thinking they were permanent fixtures in our world. A lot of those places, at least right now, have disappeared, and we’re all learning how to live without them. We’re learning what’s truly necessary; what’s truly important.
Despite how much a lot of people are struggling with staying at home, I’m grateful to feel pretty comfortable with it. This is one of those times where being an introvert has worked to my advantage. My partner and son are introverts too and none of us have really missed going out as much as we thought we might. We’ve been watching cautiously from our home and taking any and all precautions to stay safe. Paul goes out once a week at the most to get groceries, which come home to be wiped down before being put away. We’ve also had groceries delivered once but it’s tricky to get because of increased demand.
We are reaching a point now where those in power are starting to talk about loosening up the restrictions. Here in Saskatchewan we’ve had really low numbers the last few days, and that feels great. We’re heading in the right direction and avoiding the large numbers seen in other places. The biggest concern in my mind now is that we’ll open up too soon and experience a resurgence in new infections. People are itching to get back out there and businesses are feeling the squeeze and wanting to reopen their doors. I’ve been really proud of how Canada as a whole and how Saskatchewan have handled things to keep everyone safe. My hope now is that the abundance of caution showed in the beginning doesn’t lose steam toward the end. I wonder what permanent changes COVID-19 will create in our world and how that might affect the way we live moving forward.