COVID-19 Roundup: Lessons from polio, cautious attitudes about reopening, N.S. Exhibition cancelled, sewing for health-care workers

Yesterday, May 6, Nova Scotia confirmed seven new cases of COVID-19, for a provincial total of 998. There are three licensed long-term care homes and unlicensed seniors’ facilities in Nova Scotia with active cases of COVID-19, according to a provincial press release. Northwood in Halifax currently has 160 residents and 51 staff with active cases. Two other facilities each have one staff member with an active case of COVID-19.

Pandemics of days past
From the 1920s until researchers developed a vaccine in the 1950s, Halifax and all of Canada faced wave after wave of polio pandemics. Scientists initially had little idea what caused the disease but quickly saw the importance of public-health precautions like distancing. “What we can learn is that our predecessors have met this contagious crisis with far less armaments and tools in their tool box,” says medical historian Dr. Howard Markel. “They came through on the other end. And we can do this and we will do this with COVID-19.” Dorothy Grant delves into our pandemic history in this new Halifax Magazine report.

How do you feel?
Market-research group Decision Partners has been doing an ongoing series of web polls exploring how people are coping with the pandemic. While the polls aren’t scientific, they provide an interesting snapshot of evolving attitudes.

  • Most respondents believe restrictions are appropriate and working: “we’re flattening the curve.”
  • Even those who think restrictions are too strict report doing risk assessment, noting in their area the number of cases are low and not growing, or that some activities are low risk and should be allowed.
  • Opening up too quickly is a significant concern for many; they don’t want a second wave.
  • Before things open up, people want to know that the curve has flattened and the trend is downward.

Ex doesn’t mark the spot
The Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition, which brings in some 25,000 people per year, is one of the latest COVID cancellations. And it’s a blow to both attendees and countless local businesses. “It’s not just the exhibition; we bring in a number of people selling their wares,” says Darrelyn Hubley, general manager of the Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition Commission. “We bring tens of thousands of people into the marketplace during the season… staying in hotel rooms, eating at the local restaurants, shopping at the local stores.” Raissa Tetanish reports for Hub Now.

Sewing for health-care workers
Protective equipment is essential for front-line health-care workers but it’s usually not designed with comfort in mind. In this story for The Reporter, Drake Lowthers shares how Nova Scotians are trying to help—sometimes, it’s as simple as sewing a single button onto a scrub hat. “A nurse… spoke out about how the elastic was cutting in behind their ears and they were looking for a way to hook that on to something else.”

Good causes
Know a community group, good cause, or inspiring local story we should share? Email the editor.

This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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