18 Oct It Is Going To Take A Collective Effort
“People, People who need people, Are the luckiest people in the world”. These are the opening lyrics to a song performed by Barbara Streisand in the acclaimed Broadway production of Funny Girl. The recorded version of the award-winning Funny Girl soundtrack became a hit, way back, in 1964. Reflecting on recent events, particularly the course of the global pandemic, the significance of “People who need people” is more profound today than how it was expressed, almost 60 years ago. At a recent press conference, Quebec Health Minister, Christian Dubé, acknowledges,
“If the population is successful in reducing the spread (COVID-19), schools and workplaces will stay open.” https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/leagault-covid-19-quebec-defends-measures-1.5754174
Recently, speaking at a weekly news conference, Quebec Public Health Director, Dr. Horacio Arruda added,
“It is going to take a collective effort . . . Yes, we can close everything but we don’t want to come to that,” Arruda said. “It comes down to the behaviour of each person more than the closing of one place or another.”
The government is apparently emphasizing that the responsibility falls on the public to take a leading role in resolving the pandemic in Quebec. Eliminating COVID is an enormously complex challenge, are we as a public up to it? History demonstrates that mankind is adaptable and resilient. It is also reasonable to presume that, like with most other issues, the solution is found in the problem, itself.
The government is also inferring that the pandemic is not merely a health crisis; it is a human, economic and social crisis. Restricting the spread of COVID in communities seems less dependent on emerging science than it does on how people are responding to the threat. Regardless the reason, whether it’s diverse ethnic or cultural values or other social variables, there are still lots of presumably well informed people that just don’t take the COVID threat seriously enough.
During a recent update by Montreal Public Health Director, Dr. Mylène Drouin, she revealed,
“The number of new cases in the Montreal region has continued to rise in a significant and worrisome way . . . All indicators, including hospitalizations and admissions into intensive care units, are going up in the Montreal region . . . despite their increased vulnerability to the virus, older people also seem to have relaxed their vigilance, perhaps allowing visits from their school-aged grandchildren.” Reported by: Michelle Lalonde, Montreal Gazette, October 08, 2020
The COVID outbreak affects all segments of the population and is particularly detrimental to the most vulnerable members of society including the poor, seniors, and individuals with disabilities. Moreover, these at-risk segments are our relatives, neighbours and friends. With over 1 million deaths worldwide each one of us has certainly come into contact with someone who has been touched by the horrific impact of COVID, either directly or indirectly.
Klaus Desmet, an economist at Southern Methodist University, Texas, states,
“Any epidemiological model of infectious disease will tell you that one of the most important drivers of the spread of the disease is the infection rate. Obviously that infection rate depends on how many other people an infected individual bumps into every day (and) that’ll be much larger if I use the metro than if I live on an isolated farm on the countryside,” The National Post – Why some cities get ravaged by COVID-19 while others don’t by Stuart Thomson, June 22, 2020
Whether it’s the morning workout at the gym, socializing at bars or restaurants or the backyard BBQ’s with lots of friends and family around us, it’s difficult to contend with the thought that, what makes us most happy now puts others at an increased risk. In complying with restrictive safety measures whether in the workplace, at institutions, senior residences or in public spaces, it is clear that the pandemic has forced people to make concessions by way of lifestyle changes. The redeeming factor emerging from all the chaos is that, if you make sacrifices, you are a better person for it. The result of caring about others will transcend far beyond the end of the pandemic. Like “People needing other people”, we are all in this together so among the lives that are saved could be our own.