There's a sign in my neighbourhood just by the closed ice rink that reads as follows:
"THIS IS WHERE WE WILL SING TOGETHER AGAIN. SEE YOU WHEN IT'S SAFE."
But sadly we won't be singing again anytime soon, because my neighbourhood is locked down.
And the coronavirus' second wave is surging all over Canada.
Vaccines may be coming, but it will take a long time before we are all vaccinated.
And unless we can reduce our social contacts, which won't be easy during the holiday season, we could be heading for disaster.
Releasing new modelling from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) today, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said that if Canadians maintain their current contact levels, more than 12,000 new cases will be recorded daily by January.
If people increase their level of contacts, however, that number could surge to more than 30,000 cases daily by January, according to the modelling sheets.
But what can we do, when pandemic fatigue has so many feeling so desperate, and others don't seem to care about the welfare of others?
And to me it seems the only thing we can do, short of turning the country into a police state, is to radically improve the messaging. So maybe it's time to try scaring people.
As the United States faces out-of-control spikes from Covid-19, with people refusing to take recommended, often even mandated, precautions, our public health announcements from governments, medical groups and health care companies feel lame compared to the urgency of the moment. A mix of clever catchphrases, scientific information and calls to civic duty, they are virtuous and profoundly dull.
For the messaging in this country is as lame as it is in the United States, and it's time to try something different.
Mister Rogers-type nice isn’t working in many parts of the country. It’s time to make people scared and uncomfortable. It’s time for some sharp, focused terrifying realism.
Like showing what it's really like to be a Covid patient...
Maybe we need a P.S.A. featuring someone actually on a ventilator in the hospital. You might see that person “bucking the vent” — bodies naturally rebel against the machine forcing pressurized oxygen into the lungs, which is why patients are typically sedated.
Another message could feature a patient lying in an I.C.U. bed, immobile, tubes in the groin, with a mask delivering 100 percent oxygen over the mouth and nose — eyes wide with fear, watching the saturation numbers rise and dip on the monitor over the bed.
Show patients close-up gasping for every precious breath, and in many cases even if they survive taking a long time to recover. The so-called long haulers.
For 32-year-old Hanna Lockman of Louisville, Kentucky, it all started March 12. She was at work when she suddenly felt a stabbing pain in her chest.
Five months, 16 emergency department trips, and 3 short hospitalizations later, Lockman can’t remember a lot of things.
“I joke, ‘Well, COVID has eaten my brain, because I can’t remember how to remember words, keep track of medication,’” she said. “My brain just feels like there’s a fog.”
I haven't seen any statistics on the number of long haul Covid patients in Canada, but I have heard it's a major and growing problem, and along with damage to the heart and lungs is another reason health officials have to step up their messaging.
I'm still waiting for ads that can reach Canadians, especially younger ones. But these from Alberta of all places, are definitely a step in the right direction.
I'm sure we can do better, those ads still aren't scary enough, even if they are both original and watchable.
But if we are going to scare more Canadians into behaving responsibly we better do it quickly.
Or the next few months could be more deadly and more frightening than most people can even imagine...