Here in thirty seconds

January 6, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By Anthony Carnovale

There are a lot of things that a person can accomplish in thirty seconds. Here are a few examples: rinse a dish; drink a glass of water; check email; look up a word in the dictionary. Thirty seconds is thirty seconds away from a perfect serving of Minute Rice. Thirty seconds is enough time to tell somebody that you love them.

On Monday, Doug Ford showed the people of Ontario what he could do in thirty seconds. After a reporter asked how he came to the decision to implement these new protective measures, Doug Ford admitted, that after seeing all of the data and numbers related to the Omnicron virus, it took him all of thirty seconds. Thirty seconds.

Like so many people, I’m at my wit’s end. I can’t make sense of anything these days. I’m hearing so many different things, from so many different sources and its beginning to take a toll on me. On one hand, I see my sister and her family test positive for COVID. After isolating for ten days, they returned to their normal routines. On the other hand, I’m reading stories about people catching COVID and falling into a coma. Some people liken the virus to the flu; for others, it’s a much more serious affair. We have one group of scientist’s reporting that our kids should be in schools, while another argues that it’s too dangerous. There are tragic stories about people who have lost their jobs and businesses, and stories about executives receiving record signing bonuses and banks making record profits.

Let me be clear: I believe in the science. I’m not on social media, and I make sure that I read as much good journalism as I can. I’ve done everything that’s been asked: I’ve received both doses of the vaccination; I also received my booster. I wear my mask out in public and I have tough conversations with family members and friends about respecting guidelines and restrictions. I take rapid-tests before meeting with people, and do whatever I can to keep my family safe. I even went out and purchased a new smartphone so that I can better navigate my way through check-ins at community centres and requests for proof of vaccination.

I’m exhausted. What makes it even more taxing, is that I’m trying to keep up with appearances. I’m trying to stay positive for my students, for my children, for my own well-being. But it’s beginning to feel like this crisis is never going to end. It’s relentless. In some ways, I feel we’re being ground down. People are angry and bitter, confused, feeling hopeless and helpless. We were told that if we did what was asked of us, if we stuck to the plan and respected the restrictions, we’d be out of masks by spring 2022, and yet, here we are, again. At some point, we need to have a hard look at the way this crisis has been handled.

I have questions; I think I’ve earned the right to ask them.

One: if the Omnicron variant is less severe than the ones that came before it (and, thankfully, reports suggest that it is) why are we responding to it in the exact same way as the variants that came before it? Doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result is pure madness.

Two: if all of these measures are being implemented so that our hospitals won’t be overwhelmed, why aren’t we building more hospitals? I asked a nurse this question as she was injecting me with my booster. She said, “There’s no money. Hospitals are always running a deficit. Somebody has to pay for all the new technology that you see.” I left boosted, disappointed and confused.

After a while, you start to think that maybe, just maybe, there may be something else in play here. Three: is it a stretch to think that some people may have a vested interest in making sure that this pandemic continues? Am I supposed to think that the moral gauge of humanity has shifted because of this virus? It happens in times of war; it’s happened since the beginning of time — people profiting from the pain and suffering of others. I don’t see bank executives, developers and grocery executives lining up for rapid tests; instead, I see people in vulnerable communities being turned away after lining up for hours for rapid test kits. What are they supposed to think when they see that some kits are selling online for twice the actual price? What role has capitalism played in our efforts to beat down this virus? At the very least, we know that this pandemic has been politicized from the very beginning.

When I brought these issues up with a relative, he told me that ‘people just aren’t ready to have these types of discussions.’ Until we are, I’m going to listen to the science, and continue to do whatever I can to help those around me get through this chaotic time. I’ll give them my energy; I’ll give them my time. I know Doug Ford didn’t really make up his mind in thirty-seconds —it just looks that way.

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