It’s hard to believe it’s been a year.
No, I’m not rewriting my New Year editorial from Jan. 8 — although I do hope we are all continuing to stay kind through adversity. This is for a different kind of new year.
On Monday, Jan. 25, a man who had travelled to China was admitted to a Toronto ER with what appeared to be mild pneumonia. Doctors would have sent him home, except that a new kind of virus was spreading like wildfire throughout the Chinese province of Wuhan and was already impacting other countries.
By the end of the day, Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre had notified the country it had diagnosed Canada’s first case of the “Wuhan novel coronavirus.” Three days later, the first case would be found in B.C.
Nothing has been the same since.
The first case in Fraser East (Agassiz, Harrison, Hope, Chilliwack, Abbotsford and Mission) wouldn’t arrive until March 16, but we have all been impacted since the virus arrived in our country.
We have handled restrictions on our personal freedoms, and survived challenges with our friends and family on how to navigate those changes. Many of us have suffered loss, and haven’t been able to grieve the way we would like.
We’ve faced fear in the spring, and relief in the summer when we could visit our loved ones outdoors. Now, we are facing the fatigue of the second wave.
One year in, there is still a long way to go.
New variants that are proving more easily spread are being found across the world. Their presence in B.C. is making a plateauing COVID-19 curve more precarious than ever.
“My ask of you is to take a step back and remember that COVID-19 is still that unwelcome guest in our homes, in our workplaces, in our communities,” Dr. Bonnie Henry said in her Jan. 24 briefing.
“I’m asking you now, as much as possible, more than you’ve ever done before, to stay home. To stop those social interactions. To focus on those key things that are keeping us together.”
It seems, in many ways, an impossible task. I would not blame you for feeling so.
But we do need to bend our curve. And to do it, we will have to pull together.
At the Agassiz Harrison Observer, I hope you will help me do that by bolstering our sense of community and our collective spirits.
Let me know when you are doing something for the community — or even when you are doing something for yourself.
Whether you share through a letter, a photo for our community camera, or you are willing chat on the phone with me for an interview, we could all use some light news to lighten our hearts.
So whether you’ve taken up gardening, writing, painting, macramé, woodworking, hiking, pottery, auto repair or miniature model work, I would love to share how you are staying safe, sane and happy through this tumultuous time.
After all, we could all use a Saturday morning when we open the paper to read about someone’s new-found love of needlepoint, which they are using to capture scenes from around the community.
-Grace Kennedy, editor
You can share your stories with the Agassiz Harrison Observer by calling 604-796-4302 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.