One of my favourite things to do when at the beach is watch the waves as they build, curl and then eventually break. I love how the water washes over the sand and then recedes. It is calming, peaceful, and predictable.
While the successive waves of the COVID-19 pandemic have been anything but calming, they have been easy enough to see coming. And, as anyone who has been to the beach knows, you can position yourself in the line-up, start paddling, and surf out a wave. The alternative is to watch helplessly as they crash over us before reacting to clean up the damage. After more than two years of bobbing away, you would think we would learn – but as each wave begins to swell, our leaders seem to be caught off guard.
It seems like we are in for a rockier spring than we had envisioned just a few days ago. Rising hospitalizations and case counts have politicians facing an upcoming election while scrambling to find a new balance between protecting our health network and maintaining public health measures. Masks are already no longer mandatory in Ontario and most other provinces; Quebec had promised to remove most mask mandates by mid-April, but this now seems hard to imagine. Wearing a mask for a few more days, in exchange for a smoother ride through the barrel of this wave, seems wise.
We know a return to lockdown conditions is off the table, despite what we are seeing happen across parts of China. Experts are predicting that this will be a smaller but still significant wave, and that another will likely follow in the fall. In the meantime, we have some time to learn how to live with this virus. We can start by keeping our stash of masks in our beach bags.