To say that our world has changed is an understatement. And yet so much is still the same.
We are living in partial lock-down here in Switzerland, devastated by the stories of what is happening just across the border. And yet the sun is shining, the birds are chirping and the flowers are impossibly spectacular.
Like a scene from an apocalyptic film, there should be a darkness overshadowing the sky, blocking the light, but this darkness is invisible. Even this close it doesn’t seem real.
We are bracing for the storm here, wondering why it is taking so long for the strict measures to come down. Limits are in place, streets are quiet, schools are cancelled, colleagues are working at home, restaurants offer take-away only. But these measures won’t be enough.
For those of you reading from Canada, wondering if the actions and restrictive measures around you are too much, too soon, the answer is no. You just may be the only country who is acting just in time.
No country who waited before implementing their reactive measures has not regretted that decision.
Waiting is the wrong choice.
From our view, near the eye of the storm, close to war zones, close to scenes that none of us can even fathom, the actions of the Canadian government sound brilliant. We applaud you. For the chance to put in the strict measures now, before it’s too late is such a gift. Be thankful for the swift and harsh actions. Be thankful that the doctors in your hospitals are not collapsing from exhaustion. Be thankful that your doctors and nurses aren’t catching this virus instead of being able to help those who have. Be thankful that your hospitals can still help those with their everyday sicknesses and diseases instead of merely deciding who they can save.
Even our strict measures are not enough. We do not have the discipline needed for the full prevention measures that are necessary. We value routine and freedom over the inconvenience of isolation. The evidence that routine and freedom are prioritized over the choice to make sacrifices to protect the health of our whole society is scary. We have our freedom but it turns out that freedom does, in fact, have its price.
But we do what we can. We are mindful and careful. Washing our hands at every possible opportunity. Fighting the north-american instincts to buy toilet paper in bulk. Smiling at strangers even though we’re all holding our breaths while we pass. The days ahead will feel long but there is still beauty and happiness to be found.
Be vigilant. Be disciplined. Don’t wait.
We’ll get through this.