By Nancy Lear
There’s a deluge of media coverage on COVID-19. It’s impossible to go a minute without seeing some shocking news updates posted into your online feeds. “Flatten the curve”, “social distancing”, and “self-isolating” are the catch phrases we are encountering on a daily basis. When do we begin to see our lives, as we knew them, return to what we miss and cherish?
If there’s a silver lining to be found in this new and hopefully temporary world we find ourselves in, it’s the spirit of support. For the most part, we are social animals used to face-to-face interactions, a hug, a kiss, a pat on the back. Now we are using social media, a virtual method to reach out to one another, no matter how far. Together, we can watch movies, sing songs, play games, offer words of encouragement, scream in disgust or send messages to our families and friends all while staying safe inside our homes.
Life as we knew it has receded into the past for the moment. This is a very difficult situation, but it will pass. Some people find themselves suddenly without jobs, without the capacity to conduct their daily lives as they know it. Some may suddenly find themselves without care workers which is stressful to say the least. Let us remember that the Canadian government has put financial aid and benefits into place, supporting all Canadians during these unstable times to the tune of billions of dollars.
Personally, I’m a passionate YouTuber! But my regular fare of videos, yummy recipes, updates on the royal Sussexes, interesting cruise destinations and funny home videos, have been replaced with ‘around-the-world’ updates on COVID-19; video after video! Information is power but in this case it’s such an onslaught of somber reality. I am happy to see YouTubers are returning to offer again more innovative videos; seeing the unbelievable house-sanitizing techniques that are popping up, talk show hosts and musicians streaming live shows from home, hilarious videos for all ages, bringing much needed humour back into our lives.
I am not advocating to stick our head in the sand and simply stop watching any and all news all the time. Just turning it down to a reasonable intake. Maybe watch the regular morning briefings by our Prime Minister which is streamed live on the CBC to keep up to date with how our government is trying to help us. A good example maybe this particular video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZA_0LSt0Uiw in which the PM discusses the 75% wage subsidy to businesses, $9 million allocated for seniors, and $7.5 million for the ‘Kids Help Phone’ and more. Visit cbc.com once a day to watch a daily summary on the latest details about this global pandemic. That’s all you need to stay well informed as opposed to experience total information overload which can easily lead to panic.
Practically there are a few things you can do all the time: adhere to what experts in COVID-19 ask us to do to stay healthy. Right now, the need to wash your hand often and thoroughly is imperative. You need to take care of yourself! For your own health and the health of others!
Pathways To Independence, a joint collaboration between Technology For Living (TFL) and the Independent Living Resource Centre (IFRC) was held online on Monday, March 30. Amazingly more than one hundred persons with disabilities came together in the virtual word. The discussions focused on the concerns facing individuals’ daily lives due to the impact of COVID-19. The issues are overwhelming. Folks are worried about laying off caregivers, scared to use public transit for fear of exposure to the virus etc. But the outpouring of encouragement and help was just as tremendous. Let’s continue supporting one another; it’s our most powerful weapon!