It’s been three years since the World Health Organization declared Covid19 a public health emergency. Three years that feel like thirty, leaving innumerable scars across the globe. Death, illness, economic, political and social disruption became the new normal. And Canada was no exception.
On the health front, our country suffered fifty thousand deaths, an estimated 1.4 million cases of long covid, and saw millions of surgeries and treatments postponed. On the economic front, Canadians were hit with sky-high inflation, soaring interest rates, and an unaffordable housing market. On the social front, families fractured over vaccine views, kids struggled in school, and cities suffered a surge in violent crime. On the political front, social media drowned in rampant rage farming, disinformation swamped the facts, and parties split along class lines.
It could have been different. Remember the early days of the pandemic? “We’re all in this together!” Our politicians grew beards and bad haircuts. Neighbours banged pots on the porch to honour first responders. Everyone got a dog. There was a brief period of social solidarity, that rapidly dissolved into hostility, conspiracy theories and the general mess we find ourselves in today.
I’ve thought a lot lately about the past three years, about how we ended up in this ugly place. Why did this happen? What lessons can we learn? And most importantly, how can avoid making the same mistakes as we tackle our next national crisis?