Living (and dying) with COVID

Ignoring an ongoing pandemic as the casualties mount

It’s a strange feeling when the world you know to be true isn’t the one in which many others seem to live.

Premier Tim Houston, who recently won a large majority and continues to have the approval of the majority of Nova Scotians (according to pollsters), tells us it’s time to live with COVID-19. So most of us stop masking, workplaces take down partitions and end mandatory masks, employees who worked effectively from home for two years are summoned back to the office.

And what does life with COVID really look like?

Death. A lot of death.

At the time of writing, COVID has killed 431 Nova Scotians, with 319 of those deaths coming in the Omicron wave since Houston took power and began enacting his “living with COVID” policies.

We’ve heard those numbers a lot, so take a minute to think about them. COVID is still killing an average of more than one Nova Scotian per day. There was a stretch in the spring when it killed as many Nova Scotians as the April 2020 mass shooting, weekly. Where are the concerts and tributes for those people? Where’s their inquiry and commitment to ensure it never happens again?

I’m not remotely objective on this subject.

I have many loved ones who have previously experienced illness and disease, and are now enjoying rich, fulfilling, meaningful lives. If COVID kills them, the oh-so-smart internet commentators — assuming they notice at all — will shrug and say “Oh, well they had comorbidities,” as if everyone who has ever had a major illness is living on borrowed time, and shouldn’t expect anyone to care about their welfare.

I want to get out and enjoy life just as much as anyone else does. And I don’t want to discourage anyone else from having fun; it’s been a long couple years, so follow your heart and be happy.

But if you’re feeling remotely like I am, if you still worry about your loved ones and are skeptical of Houston’s “All is well!” messaging, don’t be ashamed of that either. Mask as long as you feel it’s necessary, choose events and activities that fit your comfort level, and utterly ignore anyone who hectors you about “living in fear.”

Seeing the world around you as it really is, and conducting yourself accordingly, isn’t fear. It’s just good sense.

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