With the easing of pandemic-related restrictions, columnist sees greater need for diligence to control the spread of COVID-19. (File photo) With the easing of pandemic-related restrictions, columnist sees greater need for diligence to control the spread of COVID-19. (File photo)

Column: Diligence needed to keep COVID-19 in check

Opening Our Eyes by Nan Dickie

Initially referred to as “2019-nCoV, COVID-19 was called a “novel” coronavirus as this particular strain had not been identified before in humans.

There’s nothing novel about this virus now. We know a great deal more about it today than we did three months ago. But we are nowhere near being finished with it.

For scientists and public health officials, knowledge about this virus is quickly expanding, almost daily, with global sharing of new findings and statistics about the spread of the virus, as well as its containment.

Public health authorities are now rapidly detecting and responding to all outbreaks through enhanced surveillance and early alerting mechanisms. They are employing fast contact tracing, and ensuring that people affected by the virus are being quarantined as quickly as possible to prevent a small outbreak from escalating.

In-depth studies are being carried out world-wide to identify the most at-risk populations, so that they can be targeted for effective interventions.

In our province, Dr. Bonnie Henry has provided us three times each week with expert-level answers to every question raised about the pandemic. We are reminded constantly about how to keep ourselves as healthy as possible by specific measures which are not difficult, in concrete terms, to practise.

Educators and business owners have been working for months to figure out how to ensure this safety — using online instruction, smaller classrooms, spaced-out desks in schools; Plexiglas barriers between customers and cashiers in businesses, and much more.

From an almost complete lockdown of society in early March, virtually every government in the world now is allowing more social interactions, and economies are re-opening again. We are now encouraged to enjoy the outdoors in a safe manner this summer.

Read more: Lockdown fatigue, ‘invincibility’ causing more COVID-19 infections in young people

Read more: Anxiety high as Canadian schools prepare for students from COVID-ravaged U.S.

We are feeling some relief from late winter’s social isolation, and the early fears of the pandemic.

We are at a point where many of us have become weary from the constant presence of this unwelcome guest in our world.

We went through the initial shock of COVID-19, altered our lives, came up with creative solutions to the many problems it has presented us with. And now, many of us think, “Enough already!”

In some places, many people have become complacent, and are no longer compliant with regulations that have been imposed.

Not everyone is focused on the common good.

Most of us in our province have done an amazing job at flattening the curve.

However, the number of cases of COVID-19 has increased with the gradual opening up of society, as was expected, and a

close eye is being kept on it. Modifications may be required.

Let us keep up the good work at being diligent and mindful, so that this not-so-novel virus does not become a major factor in our midst.

Nan Dickie is an author, speaker and former facilitator of a depression support group in Salmon Arm.

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