This is a pretty terrifying and uncertain time. I get that. I have a older and sick family, know lots of older & sick people and have lots of friends who are in the same boat. We see on the increasing numbers every day, including the cases, recoveries and sadly, deaths. For someone with anxiety and/or depression, this can have a BIG toll on their mental health, which can essay into impacts on their physical health. And for those who don’t adjust well to changes in routines, it can be traumatizing. I know my world has been rocked, and I’m introverted by nature and don’t normally go out much anyways.
However, it’s also reminding us all of our resiliency and ability to be kind to one another. That’s what I love about Canada. We don’t say “I love/care about you” (much), we say “I’m going to the grocery store/Timmies, do you want/need anything?” or “I may not get sick or very sick, but someone I love or someone who knows someone I know may get very sick or die, so I’m going to do my part”. We see this in BC with the curve flattening, and I hope that we see the curve flatten in Ontario and the rest of Canada over the coming days & weeks. As Dr. Tam and literally every other public official & medical professional has been saying: we will overcome this, and we as a nation have the ability to stop the virus in it’s tracks. It involves staying home as much as you can (props to my employer for starting this early), only going to stores when necessary to protect yourself & others (going for a drive around or a walk is completely acceptable), staying at home completely if you are sick or quarantined by law, washing your hands, and not touching your face. On a lighter note, as a glasses-wearer, this has been a struggle with remembering to adjust my glasses from the sides and not the bridge.
There’s no doubt that this is a terrible time for the nation and our world. So many people are sick, are going to be sick, have died and will die. Every single digit on that COVID-19 counter is a life and a story. We need to keep focused on that next time we complain about being stuck inside, not able to see our friends/family, be able to do life as we could even, what three weeks ago? It’s not going to be business as usual when this storm passes, and no one knows what that means right now or when it will happen. Some businesses won’t be able to open that first sunny day, and they may never re-open. Let’s look at some of the businesses that are working in the thick of it (essential or non-essentials that have done a pivot or iteration) that have had to innovate in order to survive and thrive when we need them the most. The healthcare, education and grocery stores have all been discussed at length with their innovations and all of the incredible things these superheroes are doing as they stand on the frontline of this historic world shutdown. Let’s look at the understated heroes.
- The complete opposite of fear-mongers (“the sky is falling, the sky is falling!”), these individuals are relentless in their work to help those having difficulty helping themselves at this time. Be it organizing food or supply drives, doing grocery & supply runs for those who are self-isolating or quarantined, or even making items like home made masks for our frontline, elder and immunocompromised neighbours. They are here and they are amazing people.
Distilleries & breweries:
- Distilleries all over Canada, from local operations (i.e. Kinsip Distillery in Prince Edward County) to multinationals such as Labatt’s are converting over to producing much needed hand sanitizer for those in the at-risk groups and our essential services in desperate need. 99% of the time, this is being offered for free to the frontline workers and either at or just above cost to the general public. I know my Mum (a grocery store clerk who is also in the older part of the age spectrum) picked up some last week from Kinsip, and for them I am truly grateful!
Apparel & Textile Manufacturing & Designers:
- Clothing manufacturers that can, for the time being, no longer supply clothing stores due to their being deemed non-essential (at least in Ontario) have begun re-tooling to produce personal protective equipment such as gowns, scrubs and masks for our frontline heroes. The biggest Canadian example of this right now is Canada Goose, but even high-end companies like Louis Vuitton and Ralph Lauren are stepping up their games too in this global fight.
- Right now, the biggest concern other than stopping the virus dead in it’s tracks is the fact that there is the very real chance that our hospitals will run out of space and we as a country will run out of much needed ventilators. This has happened in Italy and Spain, and likely happening soon in the U.S. This equipment is crucial in keeping people breathing while they heal, and access to one is literally the difference between life and death. Canadian companies such as Thornhill Medical and members of the Automotive Parts Manufacturer’s Association have either upped their production levels or are in the process of figuring out how to retool their assembly lines to meet this demand/request.
Colleges, universities, beauty businesses, and other non-essential services:
- Across Canada, colleges, universities and non-essential businesses have been ordered closed by provincial & territorial governments. Almost all of these have banded together to donate their PPE supplies to the frontlines. My alma mater Loyalist College just donated all of the gowns, masks, gloves, sanitizer, and other equipment that they had from their different programs that have now been taken online to Quinte Health Care! Colleges and universities are also tapping into their research and innovation facilities in a bid to either do some 3-D printing of needed equipment or figuring out treatment options.
- Just yesterday, Alberta announced that it would be sending 250,000 N95 Masks (the best ones currently on the market for our healthcare workers), 2,500,000 surgical masks, 15,000,000 surgical gloves, 87,000 safety goggles and 50 ventilators to Ontario to aid in our fight against COVID-19. How awesome is that?
Who have I missed that you want to include in this list?
Overall, Go Canada Go! As Prime Minister Trudeau and all of our public officials have said, we will get through this together. Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay home!