I am getting to the age when one begins to look at obituary columns. A few years ago, it was a very rare thing that I would find a contemporary there. If I did, they had died in an accident, or had taken a drug overdose, had committed suicide, or had died early from a chronic disease or cancer, or AIDS. But rarely did I find someone my age. Now though, I do find the occasional person who died younger than I am from a stroke, or a heart attack. It helps me to realize that we are not invincible and that life is a blessing to be cherished.
I can't quite put my head around what it must be like in Italy, Spain, and New York right now. Pages of obituaries are there each day as thousands have people have died from COVID. These deaths are on top of obituaries which would normally appear. Each person who died meant something to someone. They were a child of someone, a brother/sister/uncle/aunt/parent/friend/spouse of someone. Each death marks change. Each death marks a loss.
No matter which way you look at, this has been a grave tragedy. 6.6 million people applied for Unemployment Insurance in the US last week. To put that in to a local context that would be the same as every man, woman and child in the three prairie provinces being unemployed. So far 17,000 people in Canada have contracted COVID. That is just over the twice the size of Innisfail. In Canada as of this morning, 360 people have died- just about half the number who attended our fall turkey supper last autumn.
Numbers to many people kind of wash over our brains. What is 6.6 million anyways? When we put into context, we understand what 6.6 million means (the combined population of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba). The number of COVID cases around the world is not just 1.3 million, it is the size of the city of Calgary. 76,000 world wide deaths sounds just like a number- but to think of it in another way it is slightly bigger than the number of people in Medicine Hat. This evening as the premier gives us projections as to how many might get sick by the end of month, let us remember that these are not just numbers. These are peoples hopes, dreams, and lives we are talking about.
We have been told that the best way to combat this virus is to wash our hands, to stay at home, and that when we go out to maintain 2 meters distance between ourselves. We do this to protect ourselves and others. We do this to flatten the curve. As we do so, let us not think that that they are merely numbers. They are people with lives and hopes and dreams. Blessings.