Slouching towards “the new normal”


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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 25/03/2021 (796 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

It’s a term that became part of the popular lexicon last spring, but has since faded from everyday use – even though it should be more relevant now than it was then.

“The new normal” has historically been used to describe the state in which society settles after a crisis. It’s been over a year since the World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. Many of us thought – or maybe hoped – we’d have settled in to the “new normal” by now.

And yet, one full year, two long lockdowns, and four approved vaccines later, it is only now that we can begin to accurately guess what it might look like.

Mike Deal / Winnipeg Free Press Manitoba premier Brian Pallister would be well-advised to heed the words of Walter Gretzky.

Restrictions are being eased, and eligibility for inoculation is expanding, but the way ahead remains obstructed. To paraphrase George Orwell, what we are now confronting is less like a wall of stone than it is like the plate glass of an aquarium; it’s easy to pretend it’s not there, but much less so to get through it.

Even at this late stage we can’t clearly decipher through the plate glass exactly what the future will look like.

A lot has changed over the past year. It is still too early to say, but an even greater reliance on technology might be the most enduring legacy of this period in history.

We have the latest tools, but it’s up to us to use them – even if only temporarily. In many ways it is encouraging, but one thing that has become clear is that many among us are eager to return to something more comfortably familiar. The local business community would certainly invite such a return to the “old normal.”

And yet it is important that we consider whether or not we are ready. Dr. Anand Kumar has already predicted a third round of lockdowns will be imposed in the next eight to 10 weeks. If our vaccine rollout was on schedule to administer 20,000 doses per day – as was intended – that would coincide almost exactly with everyone being given at least one shot of a two-dose vaccine.

Of course, we are nowhere near that goal, but instead of planning a way to get there, and instead of learning from past mistakes when easing restrictions as positive cases again start to increase, Premier Brian Pallister decided to use the pulpit at a recent press conference to blame Manitobans for the second lockdown.

As a recently deceased Canadian icon used to tell his son, “go where the puck is going, not where it’s been.”

The advice is sound.

Andrew Braga is a community correspondent for South Osborne.

Andrew Braga

Andrew Braga
South Osborne community correspondent

Andrew Braga is a community correspondent for South Osborne.

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