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Thursday, December 31, 2020

Our first year of living with COVID-19

The WHO found out about the disease on New Year's Eve in 2019.

Posted By on Thu, Dec 31, 2020 at 4:05 PM

click to enlarge A mask that lost its face in Point Pleasant Park, New Year's Eve 2020. - TEAM COAST
  • Team Coast
  • A mask that lost its face in Point Pleasant Park, New Year's Eve 2020.

December 31, 2019, the World Health Organization first heard about a cluster of cases of "viral pneumonia" in Wuhan, China. One year later, COVID-19 is directly responsible for killing more than 1,800,000 people around the planet.

One year later, the United States just had its most-ever C19 deaths in a single day: 3,808 people dead. Ontario's finance minister, Rod Phillips, resigned when he was caught vacationing in the Caribbean while sending out tweets that suggested he was home, where all of us are supposed to be, obeying that basic C19 prevention rule to avoid unnecessary travel. And Nova Scotia remains under lockdown on New Year's Eve, so the biggest legal party in the province is capped at 10 people.

One year later, new vaccines are getting approved. Canada is going to demand that people flying into the country have proof of a recent negative test for C19. Nova Scotia is letting bars and restaurants in Halifax reopen January 4.

One year later there are signs of hope and signs that things are hopeless.

If the last year of living with novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has taught humans anything, it's that we are usually behind the disease. The WHO found out about it December 31, but apparently the very first case was seen six weeks before that, on November 17. Earlier this month, after England announced the discovery of a new, more transmissible form of the virus, countries around the world thought they could protect themselves by closing their borders to British travellers, but now we know that was ridiculous. And if a future mutation doesn't subvert the vaccine, humanity's cooperational capacity might: In America the rollout is happening so slowly, it will take 10 years to get enough people inoculated at the current pace.

Make no mistake—I am thrilled to be closing the door on 2020. My hopes are high that the coming year will be better (and realistic that it couldn't be worse). But one of my New Year's resolutions is to keep following doctor Strang's advice about personal protection and physical distancing. So here's to a 2021 full of hand washing, mask wearing and keeping each other safe, together. Apart.

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