April 20: Foolishly walking into a crisis

A year ago, I would hear pots and pans clanging in support of health-care and essential workers. We would chant “We are all in this together” and “Flatten the curve” as a collective. I was scared for what was coming because it was unfamiliar, but I felt supported and optimistic that we were willing to do whatever it would take to get through this together.

Today feels very different. As a collective, we are fatigued and frustrated. This third wave makes it feel like the year of sacrifices in Ontario was in vain.

We don’t have the excuse of ignorance this time around. We know the virus much better, how it spreads (i.e., airborne) and what it will take to stop it. The ideological and political unwillingness to do what both evidence and experience tell us will save lives is demoralizing and mentally distressing. Instead of pots and pans, I hear the deafening silence in response to calls for paid sick leave and vaccines for essential workers.

The vaccine rollout does not make me feel like we are all in this together. The opposite – it’s everyone for themselves, left on our own to figure out how to get vaccines to the people who need them the most.

The earlier waves in New York and Italy took their communities by surprise. By comparison, Ontario is making headlines for walking foolishly into a crisis, hopeful that largely symbolic gestures of over-policing communities and restricting outdoor activities would distract from poor policies and moral abdication.

Yet, I am hopeful that we can come together to do what is needed to make it through this wave.

(This is my last dispatch for a while as I recharge and gear up for what is to come).

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Seema Marwaha


Seema Marwaha is a general internal medicine physician, educator, researcher and journalist in Toronto.

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