Coronavirus contradictions lead people to make their own decisions

Everybody was whining that isolation in the days of coronavirus would drag out for months and months, if not the rest of the year. It didn’t take long for people to say, “Screw it, I’m getting back to normal life.”

Throughout Canada, life is gradually getting back to “normal” — or should there be an asterisk instead of quotation marks? Life won’t be the same as before the outbreak, that much we can all agree on. But are we ready for even the smallest baby steps? That’s where people can’t seem to agree.

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Much like with the toilet paper hoarding we saw at the start of the pandemic, there was a lack of consideration for others. In the height of the outbreak there was a cooling period where people came to the realization that they had to stay away from the world for a time to prevent themselves from getting sick. Now, all bets are off.

All the terms have been used — stir crazy, cabin fever, etc. — but it seems as if various levels of government disagreeing with each other is what’s prompted people to say, “I dunno what to believe, so I’m calling the shots now.” And, I understand that mentality.

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Who trumps whom during this medical crisis? Does Chief Medical Officer So-and-So Who-I’ve-Never-Heard-of in Ottawa overrule my provincial premier who I’ve grown to distrust over the years? Does the medical information and advice coming from across the country apply to where I live? Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Which “experts” do I believe? Do I side with the person who gives me answers I want?

These are all questions that have sprung up in the past month. Unfortunately, when elected officials or mouthpieces for public health departments don’t gain our trust — either by giving conflicting information or side-stepping the other agencies — we risk having catastrophic results during a pandemic.

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With reports saying that “we’ve flattened the curve” in one region and that “there are no new cases recorded” in our neighbourhood, people interpret that as a victory. It’s like the end of a severe thunderstorm when the rain, wind and hail have subsided and there’s only lightning in the distance. We’re in the clear. Or are we? How do we know there’s not a tornado brewing in the other direction?

At the end of the day, is it really that people are feeling antsy because they’ve been locked away from the world? Or is it a matter of not knowing who to believe after so many weeks and defaulting to the long-held argument that, “They’re all a bunch of liars” and not trusting anybody in government? Maybe it’s both.

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