Two years ago New Year’s was observed expecting that a great future lay ahead of us for years.
Few people paid attention to a brief news item noting that a new flu virus had been found in the Chinese City of Wuhan.
Life was good until the flu news began to complicate planning and threaten the good life.
Within months we faced lockdowns of business, saw newscasts devoted to how to wash our hands and what the new Covid-19 virus could do to us.
We discovered that workers, from the people pumping gas to the health care sector, are heroes for taking the risk of working among people spreading the Covid.
During the ensuing two years our lifestyle has changed acutely.
We learned we have taken so many things for granted: visiting, hugging and sharing meals with family and friends; having coffee with friends; going into a restaurant or other business to shop.
We learned more about disease and infections than most of us cared to learn.
Since shopping was risky or even not allowed for months we learned to buy online, a practice that saved many a business from bankruptcy and hurt others.
We learned how government programs can keep the economy running as long as there are funds.
One wave of the pandemic was over by July 17, 2020 representing more than 8,800 deaths sin Canada.
Restrictions on meetings and businesses were lifted as we assumed the worst was over. Wrong. A second wave hit in early January, bloating the death toll by over 13,000.
By April a third wave saw us lose another 3,300 souls.
Fearing destruction of the economy and seeing a reduction in cases provinces began to lift limits of the lockdown and restart the closed economy.
Mass vaccination was seen as the saving grace to provide herd immunity against the virus. By pouring millions and freely sharing information globally, scientists had developed new vaccines to combat the scourge.
Freedom to meet and eat together even on a limited basis was so welcome as was the opportunity to do some travel. Then in summer a third wave struck, causing repeat of some restrictions in some provinces but soon peaking.
With the autumn, a fourth wave developed but took fewer lives. As Christmas approached a fifth wave arrived with another mutation of the virus — Omicron that spread much faster.
Like so many of the rules developed and changed during previous waves as scientists learned on the fly, Omicron is also confusing
Is it less intense than other variants? We don’t know. We’re not even sure how effective existing vaccines are on it.
Life has changed forever. We may need to learn to live with COVID just as people in some parts of the globe live with daily bombings and shootings.
New Year’s greetings this season have taken on a twist.
The wishes take the form of Hope you have a better New Year — a phrase heard time and time over.
Here’s hoping for a better New Year for you, your family, friends and community.
Ron Walter can be reached at email@example.com
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication.