The great shut­down

Truro Daily News - - OPINION -

It started Fri­day, and rolled on right through the week­end, gain­ing speed – and if you weren’t tak­ing the COVID-19 pan­demic sit­u­a­tion se­ri­ously yet, the last three days should have changed your mind.

From swim­ming pools to recre­ation cen­tres to, in sev­eral prov­inces, schools and uni­ver­si­ties, the shut­down of scores of the things we take for granted – all in an ef­fort to slow the spread of the virus – is sim­ply un­prece­dented. And it’s go­ing to con­tinue.

The ob­ject? To keep peo­ple away from each other, at least enough to limit spread.

In On­tario, Bri­tish Columbia and Nova Sco­tia, the clo­sure of all casi­nos seemed like an ob­vi­ous de­ci­sion. Clus­ters of peo­ple, sit­ting close to each other and shar­ing the same touch pads on the ma­chines? It just seems like an op­por­tu­nity to share what­ever you might be car­ry­ing with your neigh­bour.

Like­wise, the At­lantic Lot­tery Cor­po­ra­tion’s video lot­tery net­work – it has very much the same risks that a casino car­ries, in­clud­ing the fact that pa­trons can be drink­ing and may be less con­cerned about proper hy­giene. (If you don’t think that drink­ing and sloppy hy­giene go – sorry – hand in hand, try tak­ing a trip to al­most any drink­ing es­tab­lish­ment’s bath­rooms at about mid­night.) ALC video lot­tery ma­chines shut down on Mon­day.

The week­end’s de­vel­op­ments strengthen the need to pay at­ten­tion to of­fi­cial sources of in­for­ma­tion and to ig­nore un­of­fi­cial, in­ex­pert ad­vice and ru­mours.

The pre­miers and the prov­inces’ health of­fi­cials are op­er­at­ing with the best in­for­ma­tion avail­able and have the ex­per­tise to han­dle this sit­u­a­tion. The pub­lic should pay close at­ten­tion, as it’s our best chance of con­tain­ing this pan­demic.

Ev­ery­thing has to be weighed to en­sure it is the most ef­fec­tive and safest way to ad­dress the problem of close per­sonal con­tact, es­pe­cially in group set­tings.

What can you do? Roll with it.

In the great scheme of things, shut­ting down many things we en­joy – from the arts to pro­fes­sional sports to spring break travel – is a small price to pay com­pared with the dan­gers that pretty much all of the world faces right now.

We’ll have to get used to re­duced so­cial con­tact, less travel and, for some of us, work­ing from home for the next few weeks at least.

It is likely to get much, much more dif­fi­cult. If in a month, when we’re look­ing back on all this, you hear peo­ple say­ing that it all seemed like we went over­board, you’ll know it was worth it.

Be­cause that will mean that it worked and we man­aged to blunt the im­pact.

Do your part.

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