To finally pull the 2020 calendar down from the wall, crumple it, tear it into pieces and toss it into the recycle bin was likely something of a cathartic exercise for many this year.
The year 2020 is one which was difficult to say the least. The COVID-19 pandemic hit early in the year and the world was left reeling for the rest of the year.
Nothing was normal after March, whether it was wanting to support the local sports team which was forced to shut down its season, or learning how to work from home, to deal with children having to learn from home, or how to connect with elders isolated in nursing homes, or even how to safely venture out for groceries, we were faced with new rules, regulations and protocols designed to protect us and others.
But, we live in Saskatchewan, where our agrarian roots tend to leave us eternally optimistic, the next crop will always be better even if the current one froze, was ate by bugs, or wilted from lack of rain.
So, with the arrival of 2021, we collectively hope for a better year ahead.
The current COVID-19 numbers are not particularly optimistic. Rare are the daily provincial reports in Saskatchewan which have not included the death of residents through the last month.
The daily infection rate has been well in excess of 150 most days, and have eclipsed 200 far more than we would hope to see.
The numbers show we have much yet to do to wrangle COVID-19 under control.
But, there is reason for optimism too. There are now vaccines against the disease, and while the roll out is slow, with the entire world hoping to be inoculated, the process has started here. Hopefully, by summer, or fall, we will all have taken our shots, and we can be that much closer to normal again.
Of course the new normal will be different. We will move forward more aware of hand washing, of face masks when you have the sniffles, or a cough, that working from home is not only possible, but just maybe offers new opportunities, and the list of change goes on.
COVID-19 will leave a mark on our world and on our city, but change is not new. We as a species are an adaptive one, and we will emerge from this pandemic smarter than we were, or at least we should.
Ultimately the legacy of the pandemic which will emerge in 2021 will be up to us. It will come down to what we did to protect our elderly, what we do to ensure a healthier future, how our new normal will look. Let’s work hard to get it right.