What exactly is the end game for COVID-19?

It’s October and with that comes a renewed passion for scary movies. For me, the increasing polarization of society is horror movie scary. Aside from race relations, one of the top polarizing issues right now is COVID-19 and how we should be acting and reacting to keep ourselves, our friends and families, and greater communities safe.

Opening schools was one COVID-19 divisive event. Another is mask wearing. More recently, the religious conference held at a local hotel last week with more than 270 participants has been hotly debated for the safety of the workers and for our community. This is made more controversial given how little the community knew in advance and wasn’t able to make informed choices for their well-being.

The number of cases of COVID-19 locally has jumped significantly over the last couple of weeks, and I can’t help but worry that we’re about to see a hockey-stick-graph-like exponential increase. It’s frustrating because our number of cases seemed to be under control, even stagnant, for months, with the measures we had in place.

Why the sudden increase? Some say it’s because schools reopened, while some blame lax restaurants, bars, and gyms. Others focus their ire on politicians and bureaucrats for not doing enough to keep us safe. Then, there is just the very timing of flu season. Now, we will also have those blaming the local hotel for hosting hundreds who travelled from who knows how many cities across Canada and then proceeded to mingle throughout our community, shop at our stores, and eat in our restaurants.

On the flip side, some say that rates of infection have remained constant and it is only the increased testing that has led to increased case numbers.

I don’t want to argue about any of these thought processes. What I want to know is what is the end game for COVID-19? Are we holding out for a vaccine before we can return to our regular lives? Are we now sure that you can’t get the virus twice? Is herd immunity something we are still striving for? What is the shortest time it has taken to create and safely test a new vaccine? Will masks ever be a thing of the past? Are we trying to keep social distancing measures in place to ensure that our hospitals are not overrun with cases?

Depending on the answers, our actions now could and probably should be very different.

Toronto, Ottawa and the Peel Region, are all back to gym and restaurant closures. The rest of the province still has what feels like carte blanche compared to the initial lockdowns.

Remember when the sheriff in the movie Jaws wanted to cancel Fourth of July festivities due to a man-eating shark in the area, but the mayor wanted the tourism dollars? How did that work out for him? Should the economy be our primary concern right now?

Rewind even a few short months ago and people were blaming their elected officials for not doing enough to keep our country, province, and municipalities safe. Are we about to have history repeat itself? Can’t we get ahead of this one?

I find myself not needing to watch gory movies this October as I’m cringing at any and every movie (read jump-scare) when I see large social gatherings on the big screen, or in person seeing someone wearing their mask improperly or not at all. I don’t need to hear the Psycho shower stabbing music, when I feel real dread at hearing someone coughing in line behind me at a store. The scariest of all though is that we have the knowledge we didn’t have months back, yet we aren’t acting all that differently.

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