I think it would be a safe wager to bet that before last March, very few of us had ever heard of an epidemiologist.
Fast forward a year and many Cape Bretoners have become “armchair” infectious disease specialists. Most of us can throw around terms like “contact tracing” and “population immunity” and everyone knows what we’re talking about.
We can sip a hot beverage at the local coffee shop and discuss the pros and cons of the various vaccines.
How did we all become so COVID-19 smart?
We can credit our knowledge to the 24/7 newscasts that we are listening to every day. Sometimes it seems there isn’t any other news in the world but the pandemic.
We are all interested because we know it’s a matter of life and death.
I don’t know about the rest of you but this COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed my life. Looking back at the past year, most of us will admit that our lives have changed … sometimes for the better but sometimes for the worse.
We are all wearing face masks in public places. I used to put my mask on as I was entering a store but now I put my mask on in the car and don’t remove it until I’m back in the car.
Safety is my priority these days.
In the pre-pandemic days, I was quite the social butterfly but now I feel more like a caterpillar in a cocoon, just waiting to burst out in all my glory.
Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s medical officer of health, has been telling us for months that we are safer outside.
I have been noticing that many Cape Bretoners have heeded his advice and are outside hiking, walking, snowmobiling, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
There are many seniors that lead a much more active lifestyle than I do. They are an inspiration for all of us.
Once the snow hit the ski hills, each morning my Facebook posts were showing beautiful pictures of Kay Mooney, Dave Lionais and the other motivated seniors “destroying the corduroy” at Ben Eoin. Good for them!
I’m happy to get downstairs in the morning without too much moaning and groaning.
Families are going out exploring the trails and beaches of Cape Breton. Another advocate for living a healthy lifestyle is Wayne MacKay of Sydney but formerly a Glace Bay boy.
He and his crew could be a poster family for active participation. They find and explore beautiful places on our island and document their discoveries through their Facebook posts.
The fresh air is good for our mental state of mind as well as our physical health. After a year of social isolation, we all need to take good care of our mental health.
I realized that I was spending too much time with my Facebook community when I saw a post on how to keep celery fresh for three weeks by wrapping it snugly in aluminum foil. I rushed to the grocery store to buy the celery. I suppose the idea would be that I would find comfort in the security that I would have a stockpile of celery at my disposal.
I have yet to use even one stock of that celery and, for the life of me, I don’t know what my plans were for all that celery. I see a trip to the compost bucket next month.
On Tuesdays and Fridays, my schedule revolves around the COVID-19 press conferences with Premier Iain Rankin and Dr. Strang.
The newscasts have kept me busy during the pandemic. Trump and his antics kept us occupied for the past year and now the Royals and their family troubles are a good distraction.
I could always clean the house if I get bored but I’m not that bored yet. When the children were young, I used to tell them that they could write in the dust on the furniture as long as they didn’t “date” the scribbles. I do have some standards.
Reading has been a great pastime for many of us. I just finished Lesley Crewe’s latest book, “The Spoon Stealer.” What a great read. My neighbour has a new book coming out in September.
With this COVID stuff … we are on the homestretch. Things are going to get better. We are all waiting for that day when we can visit family and friends in other provinces.
Better days are ahead for all of us.
Yvonne Kennedy is a retired family studies teacher and a member of the Homeville Women’s Institute.