When I went grocery shopping today I noticed the 2 meter lines placed on the floor to remind customers to keep apart were looking rather worn and faded, which makes sense considering they’ve been walked on for close to four months.
Which then made me think that we have been living with the immediate effects of lockdown/quarantine/pandemic for about four months now and no real end in sight.
How will we adjust as this continues on? While some places have opened up early (with predictably disastrous results), only to close again, and large events like concerts being pretty much off-limits (unless you’re a certain flavor of idiot country musician) until–or if–there is a vaccine, it feels like more people are adopting a “just let it happen and get it over with” attitude.
Why people would feel this way is easy to understand–they are tired of having their lives upended by all the changes the virus has forced on them. They don’t like physical distancing or wearing masks or having to do take-out instead of eating at their favorite restaurant (though they can do the latter now in many places–time will tell how prudent eating out is).
What remains to be seen is where we go from here. Some people are engaging in a weird sort of anti-coping by doomscrolling. Others are decrying their “freedom” being curtailed and doing whatever the hell they want, safety be damned. Most are just plodding along, tired, but still understanding the necessity of following guidelines and the measures in place. B.C. has had it much easier than some places and things still seem to be under control here, so complacency is also taking root among come crowds. How careful do we need to be when it really doesn’t seem that bad? Why would the government allow things to open back up if it wasn’t safe?
Who can say what the future might bring, though? Recently I’ve been reading about some of the less-reported effects people have endured after contracting COVID-19 and the list of ailments is scary as all get-out. There is evidence emerging that some may suffer permanent organ damage, such as to their lungs. The virus is less than a year old and we know very little about it. The fact that it is infectious enough to shut down the world is frightening all on its own. It’s not the flu. It may turn out to be so much worse.
While the pandemic has in some ways become so much background noise, I wonder just how many people have thought about how long it will be before we return to “normal”–or if we ever truly will.
2020 has been a year of change and upheaval. And it’s only half over.