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A Bit of Burgos by Dale Burgos

It’s OK, I don’t bite

hand sanitizerby Dale Burgos

Do you think, in the year 2120, people will be talking about COVID-19 (also known as novel coronavirus) in the same way we talk about the Spanish Flu from the early 1900s? To date, this virus has afflicted hundreds of thousands around the globe. In a matter of a few short months, we’ve lost loved ones and close friends. If you ask me, we’ll be talking about this for a really, really, long time.

I would like to share my utmost condolences if you have lost someone due to this global pandemic. I am sorry for your loss.

I would also like to stand up and applaud the many essential service workers who have been crucial in caring for our communities. Those who work in hospitals, first responders, gas station attendants and those working in our grocery stores – the list goes on. I know you are tired, but hang in there. We need you.

Our world has been flipped upside down. One by one, we watched news of countries shutting down. It started with closures in China then Italy, Iran, Spain and the world followed suit. The world’s longest border between two countries (US and Canada) has essentially closed. Who would have thought we would be where we are today?

Thankfully, Canada acted quickly. We were told to stay home. We closed schools and kept to metres apart from others when we left our homes. For the most part, people listened. I had a tough conversation with one of the kids who asked to have friends over during spring break. I had to explain that even if you and I feel fine, we may have the virus and can pass it along to his friends. The same goes both ways.

Were you someone that waited in line before Costco opened so that you could buy toilet paper or cleaning wipes? Through this hysteria, I was quite surprised how some people were outright criticizing people who had carts full of “essential goods.” I get their point, no one needs more than one pack of toilet paper if we are to be quarantined for two weeks. But is there a right way to act during these unprecedented times? No judgement here, I too purchased a bulk pack of TP, just in case.

COVID-19 is relentless. It does not discriminate. It affects people of all colours, race and age. It also brought with it crashing stock markets, lay offs, loss of income and the closure of many companies. We will feel its affects for years to come.

Since I am a glass-half-full kind of guy, I’m going to share some of the positives that it brought. First, please don’t think I am making light of this terrible situation. I am not. But there have been some major changes in the way we now live our lives.

My commute is the shortest it has ever been. I could literally wake up at 7:58 a.m. and still be in time for my 8 o’clock meeting. You guessed it – I am working from home. Or perhaps I am self-isolating at work? You’ll never know.

Another positive? Gasoline prices in Manitoba are lower than what they were when I first started driving in 1991. Sadly, I live in BC, so that means I am still paying over a dollar per litre. Enjoy it while it lasts.

What will it look like next week, next month or next year? Will this era of social and physical distancing change the way we stand in line at the bank or the grocery store? Will we be afraid to hug or shake hands? I’ve already noticed a difference when going for evening walks. Normally cheery people now keep their heads down and don’t say hello. It’s not like you’ll get coronavirus if you look me in the eye and smile, right?

Once we emerge from these trying times, I will most likely return to my old ways. I will shake your hand, look you in the eye and say hello. It’s OK, I don’t bite, but excuse me while I get my hand sanitizer.

Dale manages the communications department for a school district in B.C.

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