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Follow the plan

Gazette student columnist: 'We are fighting a unique battle'

Student Life | Student View

By Emma Troake

As we head towards the two-month mark since COVID-19 was declared a public health emergency in Newfoundland and Labrador, plans for recovery have begun.

Though restrictions have started to lift, it’s a long road to recovery and one that needs to be travelled carefully. 

As the weeks go by and we (hopefully) continue to make positive progress, more restrictions will be lifted.

“Disobeying the protocols in place will only require them to stay in place much, much longer.”

It is vital that we adhere to the protocols still in place, and even as increased interaction is allowed, we should still make proactive decisions that are in the best interest of everyone’s health and safety.

Throughout the pandemic, adapting to change has been a struggle. Some people have refused to accept the changes required. Abusing the freedom we are given will result in consequences for all of us.

Though it’s difficult to remain patient while waiting for restrictions to lift, it’s important to remember that disobeying the protocols in place will only require them to stay in place much, much longer.

There is no fast-tracking this plan, and no one is an exception to the rules. 

‘The least we can do’

As well, those of us lucky enough to be safe in our homes during the pandemic need to recognize the privilege we hold.

Health-care professionals are working through floods of cases, facing intense, frightening situations every day, risking their health and safety, isolating themselves from their loved ones, witnessing the damaging effects of the virus up close and fighting exhaustion day after day all to help others.

Most of us, on the other hand, who do not have to endure that kind of work, simply have the small task of social distancing. We can stay comfortable in our homes, safe and unbothered.

“We need to make their work count.”

Most of us don’t see the devastation. We don’t face the risk. We can be sheltered because the professionals are being the heroes and saving the day for us.

It is not enough to simply be grateful and applaud their work. We need to make their work count. It is up to us to take the simple measures required to prevent an increase in case numbers.

The part we play is easy, but crucial. The very least we can do to give back to those protecting us is to help take the strain off their workload and decrease the spread. 

It’s a long and painstaking process, but we should appreciate the fact that Newfoundland and Labrador has handled its situation well and gained control over the spread before it could reach disastrous levels such as in Italy, Spain and the United States.

Compared to other provinces and countries, our population density is smaller, and it allows us to social distance outdoors more easily. 

Don’t assume

While following the established protocols is important, some people are working through very different circumstances during this time.

Though you may see, for example, a parent with their children shopping for groceries and assume they are being irresponsible by bringing more people into the store, it is entirely possible that they are a single parent or are without access to childcare.

“We do not hold the authority to judge them.”

It is not okay to make assumptions and then approach someone aggressively. We never know someone’s circumstances and we do not hold the authority to judge them.

The best we can do is follow protocols to the best of our ability ourselves and promote social distancing by setting the example.

Like the emergency we faced earlier this year, Snowmageddon, this is another time where we need to come together.

In such a stressful time, we need to be empathetic and supportive, as well as cautious and resilient. We are fighting a unique battle, and we are all involved.

Newfoundland and Labrador has proven time and time again that no challenge is insurmountable, and I am confident that this one will not be an exception.

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