In the province where I live, Ontario, the government has issued another lockdown, with a new round of emergency stay-at-home orders. Among other things, indoor dining at restaurants is completely banned and indoor gatherings severely restricted. Covid infection rates are surging and hospitals are at the breaking point all across the country.
Of course, with every new surge in covid there is a new surge of public outcry over the restrictions. Last week in my city over one thousand people lined a major street to protest the new restrictions on their shopping experience. Nobody enjoys these lockdowns, but as we get through this pandemic I think it will help to try to get some perspective on this.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately on what my grandparents went through. They lived through World War 1, the Spanish Flu, the Great Depression, and then just to round things out, World War 2. Nana was a young woman of 16 when WW1 broke out, and by the time she was 47 she’d been through two world wars and the Great Depression, all while raising a family. Her husband was an army instructor during WW2, and two of her sons, my uncles, were on the front lines with the Canadian Army in Europe. My mother was a child during the Depression, and retained vivid memories of it all through her life. Often at dinner they had nothing but a piece of bread soaked with milk, with some sugar sprinkled on it.
My father-in-law served in the U.S. Army during the war in both the European and Pacific theatres. He was in the North African and Italian campaigns. He was on the front lines in Italy when the war ended in Europe, and instead of being sent home he was put on a troop transport ship and sent to the Pacific to fight the Japanese. He was still in the Pacific when Japan surrendered and served as part of the American occupation army in Japan.
Two good friends of mine I’ve known for many years got covid a couple of months ago. I’ll call them Heather and Jim. Heather struggles with extreme fatigue and is in bed most of the time, but she’s got it better than Jim. At least she’s expected to live. Jim might not. He’s fighting for his life every day and at the time of this writing, we still don’t know if he will make it. Heather and Jim are not old, and the new variants even have kids and young people on ventilators.
Lockdown orders are not much fun, but we all need to pull together. It will save lives and ease the pressure on our overworked doctors, nurses and hospital support staff. The emergency stay-at-home orders aren’t so bad. We can do this. It’s not like we’re being asked to storm the beaches of Nazi occupied Europe.