March Update: Careers and Coronavirus

Right, so I’m sure by now you’re aware of a certain virus that’s been making the rounds. Known in medical terms as COVID-19, it’s a respiratory virus with symptoms similar to the flu. The strain has recently been declared by WHO as a pandemic, and governments around the world are starting to crack down in an effort to slow the further spread of the virus. I wasn’t originally going to make a post about this subject, but because it’s now gotten to the point that many Edmonton events are getting cancelled/postponed, I’ve been drawn into the matter regardless. While I’m talking about this, I’ll also provide a few status updates.

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Pictured Above: The offending virus.

First off, let me preface this post by saying that I personally have no medical background. As such, I am not the source you should be turning to if you want medical advice. If you suspect that you or someone you know has caught the coronavirus, seek professional testing immediately and isolate yourself from others as much as possible.

That being said, I can offer a few tips on how to avoid contracting it yourself, though you probably knew these already. First, wash your hands. Wash your hands after using public restrooms. Wash your hands when preparing food. If you’re happy and you know it, wash your hands. I think you get the point. Hand sanitizer is effective as well if you can get your hands on it, but because people have been hoarding it, the demand and therefore prices have been skyrocketing. Speaking of which…

You know those people who’ve been buying shopping carts filled with toilet paper? Don’t. Just… don’t. You only need one or two packs of toilet paper, maybe three if you have a huge family. Anything more than that is just overkill. No family could possibly use that much toilet paper over a 14-day quarantine period. Don’t fight over it either, it’s not as if you’ll die without toilet paper. This goes for any other product as well, not just toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Be sensible, don’t panic and take a moment to think before you buy in bulk.

One other thing that some believe is that masks will help you avoid contracting the virus. They won’t, at least not in any significant way. They’re only helpful if you regularly deal with vulnerable people, like nurses and doctors do. Otherwise, don’t bother buying a bunch of masks, it’ll only cause a shortage of masks for those who actually need them. The more important thing is to wash your hands regularly, as touching your face with unwashed hands renders a mask pointless. If you already have the coronavirus, a mask will lower the risk of it spreading to others through you, but you shouldn’t even be going outside if you’re aware that you may have it. Instead, you should be in quarantine. Same goes if you’ve flown or left the country recently.

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Pictured Above: Hands being washed.

One other thing to keep in mind, try to avoid crowded spaces as much as you can. As someone who relies on the public transportation system, I realize this won’t always be possible, but try your best regardless. If you have to cough, do it into your sleeves. Again, try to avoid touching your face if you’ve recently touched something unfamiliar. Avoid physical contact with unfamiliar people as well, including handshakes. These points hold especially true for the elderly and others with compromised immune systems, as these groups are the most vulnerable.

Now then, why am I talking about this? At first, I was going to just stay out of the conversation. I don’t have much to offer that hasn’t already been said, so what good would my voice do? Well, the stakes have grown too high now for me to simply ignore the issue, and the ripple effect from this outbreak is starting to affect my life in several key ways.

First, I wasn’t able to have an important meeting with someone because they went into quarantine. Second, I won’t be able to swim or work out anymore at my local rec centre, nor will I be able to check out new books at the public library. There are even more dimensions of disruption to this outbreak, but the third and possibly most disruptive point immediately relevant to my situation is the effect this virus will have on events throughout Edmonton and all of Canada.

The sports world has already been hit by a wave of cancellations, and with the ban on public gatherings of 250+ people, various festivals will inevitably be affected as well. If this continues through the summer, we may see the postponement or even cancellation of major events such as Heritage Fest, the Fringe Festival, and Animethon, as well as lesser-known niche events such as the Found Festival, Edmonton Poetry Fest, and Natsu Matsuri.

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Pictured Above: CANCELLED

This is also going to impact my Impressions series, as it completely throws off my original plan of uploading entries alongside the event date. I have no intention of cancelling the series, but I’ll have to take some time to re-assess the way I write future entries.

I understand why they imposed this ban, I do. Public safety is and always should be the number one priority for all Albertans. However, a lot of people (myself included) love all these events and festivals within this city of ours, and we’ll be left with a hole in both our schedules and our hearts if we have to wait another whole year for them to come back around. How about we all do what we can to make sure this situation doesn’t get any worse than it already is?

Ending this on a more positive note, I finally managed to get a job! In consideration of personal privacy, I won’t talk about where I’ll be working or what I’ll be doing. What I will say is that it’s a part time position, and I have previous volunteer experience relevant to the role. Now that I don’t have to worry about job searching for the time being, I’ll be able to divert some of that focus back to writing, as I’ve been falling a bit behind my resolution goals. The whole… you know… also frees up some additional time, but that’s not exactly the kind of free time I was hoping for. I have a work of short fiction in the making, that should be ready sometime in the next week. Well, I think I’ve talked enough for now, stay safe out there!