(Composite image / Juneau Empire)

(Composite image / Juneau Empire)

MIKE’S MUSINGS: Navigating the COVID confusion of the past year

Is it really any wonder this thing has dragged on for this long?

“Hooray! Another opinion piece about COVID-19!”

Said no one at all after reading that headline.

What could I possibly have to add to the conversation at this point, after all? I mean, we’re over a year into this pandemic, so everything that could be said has probably already been said, right?

Well, in a constantly changing situation like this one, I thought it might be of value – to me, at the very least – to examine my own changing thoughts on this whole thing, because my mindset has changed almost as often as the restrictions and guidelines handed down by various authorities over the course of the last year or so.

When we first heard about this virus, still centred on the city of Wuhan at that point, the academic side of my brain launched into possibilities and “curiosity” took over for a while.

But “curiosity,” soon gave way to “concern,” which quickly became “dread.” As I watched the spread of this disease and saw the impact it was having on real people around the world – rather than dots on an interactive chart or numbers on a spreadsheet – I knew many things were about to change drastically. At least I hoped they would, because otherwise things would become very grim very quickly.

Thankfully, things did change. Restrictions came in, things started to shut down and people – the reasonable ones, at least – took this problem seriously. They listened to the scientists and doctors.

“Dread” had become “cautious optimism.”

But then restrictions started being lifted. People started heading back to work – even those who could easily do the job from home. It was announced that schools would be open in September.

“Too soon,” I thought, and my mindset went back to “concern.”

Usually I’m happy being right about things, but not this time.

We’re now over a year into this and things are getting worse than they’ve ever been in terms of the numbers on the spreadsheet I mentioned earlier. And we continue to get mixed messages from the people who are supposed to be leading us through this.

It wasn’t safe to go to your mom’s house for Thanksgiving dinner, but your child could go to school and play with 60 other strangers’ children.

It wasn’t safe to have two friends over for a back-yard barbecue, but it was okay for people to clamber all over each other at the grocery store as they reach for items on the shelves. They just had to be wearing a mask when they did so.

Now, I know the science behind the decisions being made and the restrictions being implemented at various times, because I pay attention to things like that. But I totally don’t blame others for throwing their hands up in the air in exasperation and saying “this doesn’t make any sense!”

Remember when theatres became sports bars to stay afloat because arts venues weren’t allowed to operate but sports bars were?

So where is my mindset right now?

I’m angry.

I’m angry that we could have shut everything down properly for a couple months instead of trying to fight through it with half-measures, causing it to drag on for a year – so far – and increasing the damage that’s being done to us emotionally, physically and financially.

I’m angry that I still can’t see my friends and family because people don’t understand what “essential” means, or don’t care.

I’m angry that our “leadership” sometimes seems to care more about “the economy” than it does about our health.

And by the looks of things, I’m going to be angry for a while longer, because apparently the ferries were packed over Easter weekend.

Sure was a lot of “essential” travel happening all of a sudden.


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