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JOHN DeMONT: Getting ready for the second COVID-19 wave

Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, said the new restrictions will work, but it will take time for their impact to be reflected in case numbers.
Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, said the new restrictions will work, but it will take time for their impact to be reflected in case numbers. - Communications Nova Scotia

Here we go again, we said Wednesday, our bubble burst, our second wave underway, our great pause, if it ever truly ended, resumed. 

So much already seemed the same as last time.

The heightened anxiety. The fretful waiting for the latest news from Dr. Robert Strang, and Stephen McNeil, which on Wednesday — 16 new cases, after a frightening 37 the day before — could have been a lot worse. 
The sleeplessness and pandemic dreaming. The doom-scrolling of social media. The Elly May Clampett-quality bread-making.

Yet so much is clearly different, too, at least from where I sit. 

For one thing, we came out the other side after the first wave. Not only that, we did so in a way that was the envy of the world. 

The onset of our second wave is frightening after so many days and weeks with no or few new cases. 

But let us be clear: even with the Atlantic bubble temporarily burst, Nova Scotia’s 102 active cases is tiny compared to, for example, similarly sized Saskatchewan with more than 3,000 citizens currently afflicted with coronavirus.

Our pandemic numbers were always forecast to rise, and as Strang, the province’s chief medical officer of health, has assured us, will continue to climb in the days and weeks ahead.   

Some solace, as well, has to be taken from the fact that the province reported 1,621 new tests on Wednesday, compared to 955 tests on one day a month ago. 

The more you test, it stands to reason the more positives you are sure to find, and, thanks to the folks at the Department of Health and Wellness, move into the “resolved cases” category.

Now, furthermore, the boom has been lowered. The days of sombre darkness, of drudgery and duty, are upon us. 

This, I have been often reminded lately, is a small thing compared to the selflessness shown by previous generations who, for example, went off to fight in wars when their moment of sacrifice arrived.

All we technically have to do is stay home and do nothing, a challenge for which I personally have been training for my entire life. 

I feel better prepared for the lockdown this time around for other reasons. Donald Trump, whose presence literally haunted my dreams, is slouching towards the exit. The nightmare to our south is over. 

As well, I have learned some things and been reminded of others during the past months. 

COVID-19 has reinforced for me that the natural inclination of the human mind, at least mine, is to head for the gloom, perhaps because being aware of something like a global pandemic looming on the horizon is some sort of survival mechanism. 

The best approach for me, as it probably is for you, during times like this, is to leave no opening for the darkness to seep in. To find something on which to focus my whirling brain, whether it is the pieces on a chessboard, bought after-binge watching The Queen’s Gambit — exciting, uplifting Neflix offerings being a good way to keep the melancholia at bay — or the stubbornly unsolved clues on a crossword puzzle. 

Let me be clear on this: I am no more knowledgeable about the Sicilian Defence than the Sicilian pizza.  

That is of no importance. I have prepared myself for the second wave of the pandemic like a soldier arming himself for war.

The long-abandoned saxophone, the mere sight of which sends the dog slinking out of the room, has been dusted off. 

The online yoga program has been bookmarked on my laptop’s favourites, alongside the link to my zoom karate classes.

On Wednesday, I walked in and looked long and hard at a kettle-bell that I have never once hoisted. 

This sounds like I’m bragging here. But these, as we say, are strange times in which to live. 

I once for a brief period wanted to learn how to juggle. Occasionally, when the immense demands of writing this column let up for a minute, I click on an old video of the Nicholas brothers and say, man, it would be nice to be able to dance like that. 

Let us all hope this thing doesn’t go long enough that it gets to that.


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