Once again, COVID fears required actions that resulted in another restrictive holiday season in Ontario and most of Canada.
After 2020 when we spent Christmas and New Year in some form of lockdown, most of us anticipated a return to seeing family and friends without anxiety about catching the deadly virus. I knew that 2021 holiday celebrations would look and feel different as the pandemic hasn’t gone away but I was hoping for less anxiety over visits with friends and family.
At my age, I no longer think about holidays as an excuse to party hearty but I was looking forward to a few gatherings such as a lunch with my investment club, a reunion with bridge buddies, and a potluck reunion with friends.
Once again COVID disrupted celebrations. The small taste of relative freedom we enjoyed when most of Canada’s population had received double doses of vaccines and children aged 5 and over got their shots ended abruptly. Hopes were dashed when a new variant, Omicron, began spreading at astonishing rates. Most worrisome was news that this variant may partially escape immunity from vaccines.
Scientists are grappling with implications of severity when people are infected with the Omicron variant. Some reports indicate a milder form of the disease while others show that it can be life-threatening for those with underlying conditions or those who have not taken the COVID vaccine. In short, there’s nothing conclusive except recommendations to receive the third dose of RNA-type of vaccines such as Pfizer or Moderna, stay distanced when in crowds, and wear a mask when in shops or other gathering places.
The Government of Canada issued a travel advisory for any travel outside of the country. Was it a disguised warning? Although we weren’t planning any travel, the advisory caught our attention about the seriousness of the Omicron variant and its capacity to spread like wildfire.
Most provincial governments placed limitations on numbers of people at indoor events, as well as 50% capacity limitations in restaurants, bars and retail establishments. Clinics offering third doses of mRNA vaccines to all adults over 18 opened just before the holidays with no breaks. Reports indicate long lineups of people waiting for shots. We had a booster shot on Dec. 7 before the latest rush but even the extra dose gives small comfort!
Keeping Hope Alive
Although the first part of 2022 may be grim, I remain optimistic. Perhaps the spring of 2022 will be the turning point of this pandemic. At least we’ll have warm weather and the opportunity to gather outdoors.
I know that I’ve managed to live through some 20 months of COVID by staying positive, adhering to public health guidelines and avoiding undue risks. There will be celebrations in future years — hopefully without restrictions!
In the last few days of 2021, my husband and I are enjoying winter at our cottage retreat. It’s peaceful here with evening snowfalls and daily melting warmups. Long walks in nature allow contemplation of the year gone by and aspirations for the year soon to arrive.
My hope for 2022 is that everyone finds the strength to carry on with prudent measures to avoid this virus. I hope people get the booster dose quickly as it seems to provide a small level of protection from the Omicron variant. For those who do fall ill, I hope for the availability of tests and hospital intervention, as needed. I also hope our health care workers continue to support and help those who are ill. Finally, I hope our politicians have the wisdom and foresight to use science in making appropriate calls for public health restrictions.
For all my readers, I wish you a happy new year. May all your impossible dreams come true!