I wanted to blog about some of the events surrounding what I suspect will be a defining moment in history. As a Canadian, the defining moment in my life to date has been the terror attacks on the US on September 11th 2001. I believe that Pandemic 2020 will surpass that. With that in mind, I wanted to chronicle my world as (Novel) Corona Virus 19 (COVID-19) sweeps through Canada, through BC and through Victoria. Although we are somewhat isolated, being on Vancouver Island, it’s inevitable that it reaches us. Its impact on our society and our lifestyle has already been profound.

In December 2019, as the virus was first becoming known (to the world), there were reports/rumors that the virus originated in a food market in Wuhan, China. The rumors indicated that the virus was the result of unsafe food handling practices in an open-air market. The reports/rumors did not report the idea that Wuhan is also the home of a Chinese, state-run bio-engineering laboratory that specializes in viruses. What a happy coincidence, as they are well positioned to study the virus and work towards treatment and containment. Of course, none of us would be so cynical as to think that the global pandemic might be the result of an accidental release from that same lab. Nope. Well, ok, let’s wait until after this is over to consider that. Right now we need to be kind to China so that they will continue to provide us with the critical medical equipment that we need to fight this thing. Need. Need to not bite the hand that is feeding us.

As I write this blog, on March 21st 2020, spring 2020 is taking its first breath in Victoria. The sun is shining, flowers are blooming and the temperature is mild. Yet there is a palpable, sinister weight in the air. Not distrust exactly, call it justifiable paranoia. I have not seen the people in this city as kind and cooperative as they are today. All around me is evidence of people helping each other. As we prepare for the onslaught that has gripped the world, we are both charitable and paranoid at the same time.

Despite the Chinese government’s considerable efforts, containment was not possible. Soon the virus had moved to Iran, South Korea and eventually Italy. While the virus had moved to several countries simultaneously, these are the countries hit the hardest. As of today, the virus has taken hold in the USA and has moved into Canada. For the sake of historical context, below is a chart of current COVID-19 statistics for some of the most impacted countries in the world.

My statistics are coming from a site that tracks world-wide statistics (here). I do not vouch for the accuracy of their data, in fact I don’t think anyone can know for sure. Any data available is ‘a rough estimate’ as this moves too fast, and is too covert, for anyone to track.

Country Total Cases Active Cases Deaths
China 81,008 6,013 3,255
Italy 47,021 37,860 4,032
USA 19,777 19,354 276
Canada 1,087 1,061 12
COVID-19 on March 21st 2020

 

The world has stopped recreational travel. There are occasional news reports of tourists being trapped abroad. Most airlines have collapsed down to skeleton crews with few flights. International borders are closed. Cruise ships are being quarantined, and often cannot find a friendly port. Tourists that are unfortunate enough to be caught somewhere are having difficulty returning home, often to be stuck in a hotel room under quarantine.

The US and Canada have closed the longest border in the world for recreational travel. Essential services only, primarily trade to keep grocery store shelves stocks and medical supplies moving.

The US has declared a state of emergency, with President Donald Trump invoking the Defense Production Act. California, New York and Texas have all declared states of emergency. Several US states are in varying forms of lock-down. California has begun releasing prisoners from jails in an effort to prepare for the worst of the pandemic (here). A move that Iran had also included in their emergency preparedness (here).

While this pandemic is wreaking havoc all over the world in a myriad of different ways, I’m going to focus on it’s impact on me and my community.