So, you’ve made it through the first week or two of self-isolation — sanity more or less intact. Maybe you’ve even become accustomed to working from home with your new “co-workers” of both the human and animal kind.
Like the rest of the world, you’re anxiously watching the data come in from global sources — looking to get an idea of when you may get to go back out into those wide open spaces.
Or just back to the movie theatre.
Or to hug your family again.
Finally, on a day hopefully not too far away, you see it.
The curve. It has started to lean away from the dreaded “hockey stick” of exponential growth.
“We did it!” you may think to yourself. “We’re free!”
Not quite yet. It’s not that easy.
This is a chart from the fine folks at the Toronto Star, using information from Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 dashboard. This information represents the growth in a variety of countries around the world.
That green line that represents China finally starts to make the bend around the middle of February, when they finally ease the growth of COVID-19. This is approximately a month after the city of Wuhan was first quarantined and isolated from the rest of China.
It is also approximately a month before the easing of the physical distancing and quarantine restrictions in Wuhan.
It takes roughly two months of serious self-isolation, physical distancing, and quarantine measures to get this pandemic under control.
We aren’t out of the woods yet, folks.
Most of us in North America are only a couple of weeks into serious self-isolation and quarantine measures, and the numbers are incredibly different in US and Canada.
Look at the bright orange line that represents US cases of COVID-19. It shows no sign of relenting in its ever-increasing numbers. It is a very ugly line that should be sparking fear in every American, especially those that don’t have access to adequate and affordable healthcare.
Now, look at the red line that represents Canada. While the US cases have increased on a sharper curve than any other country (including China), Canadian cases have increased on a much slower rate.
Here in Canada, we have taken physical distancing seriously, and enacted it early. The results are showing in our numbers and our much slower rate of increase. This isn’t to say that there aren’t Americans who are doing everything they can, just that it appears to have been more successful in Canada to this date.
The bigger story from this chart? We’ve got a long way to go. Until we start to see consistent change in the rate of daily increase, we can’t even begin to think about resuming daily life. The World Health organization said in its March 30 briefing that the data being reported now represents the situation two weeks ago. We won’t know about today until two weeks from now.
So, it doesn’t matter how restless you are, nor how much you miss your loved ones. We have to stay the course and stay isolated until we are told otherwise.
We have done hard things before.
We will do hard things again.
This is just one more hard thing, and we can do it.
But we have to do it together.