The Editor’s Desk: To fear or not to fear

The Editor’s Desk: To fear or not to fear

Be fearful and retreat, or be brave and advance? The choice is easy

What a difference a week makes.

For the last few days I’ve heard colleagues in the news media — people with many, many more years of experience than me — say that they have never seen, or covered, a story like the COVID-19 pandemic. It has dominated every aspect of the news: not just as a news story in and of itself, but in every other field, whether it be entertainment, sports, politics, education, and even crime, with fears about what happens should the virus make its way into the prison system.

For me, however, it was a flashback to the summer of 2017, when wildfires — and the Elephant Hill wildfire in particular — dominated the Journal for several weeks. Between early July and late August there were a bare handful of stories in the paper that did not, in some way, relate back to fire. It coloured every aspect of life in our communities, and the COVID-19 pandemic looks set to do the same.

There are, of course, many differences between the 2017 wildfire situation and the 2020 pandemic, not least of which is how frighteningly fast the latter story is developing, changing, and growing. I began working on a round-up of links to reputable sites dealing with the coronavirus, as well as information about services and organizations that were being affected and which I thought readers of the Journal would be interested in.

The article kept growing and growing; almost every time I checked my email there was another item that needed to be added. Not only that, but items I’d already written had to be amended as situations changed. In the original version of the piece, area libraries were still open but you couldn’t use the computers; School District No. 74 students were headed back to school when spring break ended; the Ashcroft HUB was open but one or two events were being suspended.

Within hours that had all changed. The TNRD sent word that all libraries were closing as of March 16. On March 17 it was announced that all K–12 classes in the province were suspended indefinitely. Jim Duncan came by the Journal office to drop off a table that had been on loan to A Murder is Announced and said that the play had ended its run just in time: “They’re closing the HUB.”

Boom, boom, boom. Just like that, life for all of us in our small communities changed in ways that would have seemed impossible a week ago. Local businesses announced closures, curtailments, cutbacks, changes as they scrambled to keep up with announcements. Gatherings of more than 250 were prohibited; a day later that had changed to 50. Restaurants and bars could stay open; then bars and pubs and clubs had to close.

With so much information, so many changes, so much uncertainty, it’s no wonder some people are confused and fearful. Last week in this space I said that the best approach was to keep calm and carry on, and I stand by that. However, it’s crucial to recognize that “carrying on” doesn’t mean we can go about our lives the exact same way we did one or two or six months ago. The landscape has changed dramatically, and we must change with it.

People and businesses will suffer. Long-anticipated events — weddings, holidays, cruises, concerts — will have to be postponed or cancelled. Life won’t be quite as uncomplicated as it was. But experts have told us what we have to do in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and keep people safe. It means adjustments to our lives, but we can cope.

Above all, we can’t panic, or let fear rule us. In his inaugural address in 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously said “So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” To fear or not to fear? That is the question. It’s an easy one to answer.



editorial@accjournal.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Columnist

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
110 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Provincial health officers announced 1,005 new cases throughout B.C.

RCMP cruiser, no date.
One man apprehended after high-risk situation in Ashcroft

Distraught man made threats directed at police, potentially had access to firearms

Janice Maurice, president of the South Cariboo Museum Society, and vice-president Peter Brandle, hope to see the Clinton Museum reopen its doors this spring. (Kelly Sinoski - 100 Mile Free Press).
Clinton Museum anticipated to reopen this year

Society board waiting to hear from province on health orders.

Interior Health nurses administer Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News)
69 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The total number of cases in the region is now at 9,840 since the pandemic began

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
Interior Health hospitals not strained by rising COVID case counts

While provincial hospitalizations rise, health care systems in the B.C. Interior remain robust, say officials

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

Premier John Horgan receives a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the pharmacy in James Bay Thrifty’s Foods in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. Premier John Horgan gets AstraZeneca shot, encourages others

27% of residents in B.C. have now been vaccinated against COVID-19

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

Since April 4, 38 flights with COVID-19 cases have departed from Vancouver International Airport, while 23 arrived. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Vancouver the largest source of domestic flights with COVID-19 cases: data

This month alone, 38 flights with COVID-19 cases have departed from Vancouver International Airport, while 23 arrived

John Furlong, Own The Podium board chairman and former CEO of the Vancouver Olympics, addresses a Vancouver Board of Trade luncheon in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday November 25, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
John Furlong presents 2030 Winter Games vision to Vancouver Board of Trade

Vancouver and Whistler would remain among host sites because of 2010 sport venues still operational

Most Read