LETTERS: Crisis an opportunity for testing who we are

Editor:

Re: ‘Not panicked, it’s like insurance,’ March 18

Similar to the couple in the article, I was at the Superstore and Walmart last week when I noticed many people with carts piled high and long lineups. It was panic-buying, which has gotten even worse.

We are constantly reminded that “this is an extraordinary time.” All we hear on the news is about the COVID virus. My aunt, who is well into her 80s, reminded me of her being a teenager in Holland during the Second World War.

She recalled the bare store shelves, the scarcity of food and the fear of being killed by an occupying army.

Today we are being invaded by an army which is invisible and can’t predict, as during WWII, what the future will be. It’s also scary not knowing who the enemy is (infected individuals with no symptoms) as well as being distressed at not being able to attend public functions.

We are prisoners in our own homes, especially for seniors like myself.

Spring has sprung; everything appears to normal but it’s not. I sit on my balcony watching the ocean on a warm day and have to remind myself that there is a pandemic. Businesses are closing; companies are laying off employees; half a million have applied for EI; shopping is risky. This creates anxiety because we are not used to it.

Stores are closed, the borders are shut and public venues have been cancelled. When will things return to normal, even if it gets worse before it gets better? Infectious disease experts estimate that at least one third of Canadians will become infected.

But we shouldn’t panic, hoard and give up hope. The B.C. government has told us that there are ample supplies.

Despite casualties, the world did not end with the Spanish flu in 1918, nor with the millions who died during WWII, with the SARS epidemic in 2003 or the 2009 swine flu. Those who survived the flu had immunity.

We will conquer the COVID virus, but finding a vaccine takes time. Like my aunt’s experience, we have to put things into perspective. A crisis is an opportunity for testing who we are.

Albert Leering, White Rock

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