Home Health COVID-19 Editorial: science lessons done, context begins for COVID messaging

Editorial: science lessons done, context begins for COVID messaging

Doing the right stuff now so that things will be better later.

Friday December 4, 2020 | LANGFORD, BC

Editorial notes by Mary P Brooke, B.Sc., editor | Island Social Trends

Today one of the so many tweets out on the internet caught my attention. A simple one. But it demonstrates the needed next-step in public health guidance against the continuing struggle that people are having with the COVID-19 pandemic, i.e. why the fight matters. Context.

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr Theresa Tam wrote: “If we want to get back to doing more of the things we enjoy with the people we enjoyed doing them with, we have to put the effort in now to stop the spread of #COVID19: #MaskOn#Handwashing#PhysicalDistancing .”

That typing was paired with a short video 30-second video flashing many of the things we’d like to do again (and not have to do anymore). We’d like to be able to talk and laugh and share social moments without having to wear masks. Things like family dinners, parties and weddings could be normal again.

Dr Theresa Tam, Tweet, COVID
Public Health Agency of Canada tweet by Dr Theresa Tam, December 4, 2020.

That’s effective leadership. Figuring out the key thing that will motivate people and then appealing to that effectively, in a way that will produce desired behaviours, and compliance — sticking to the new behaviours that will keep you on track with the COVID-19 protocols until vaccines are available.

And then through the next leg of the journey in 2021, the period where vaccines are rolled out to some (on the front lines) but not others (most of the rest of us) until the vaccine supply can provide enough coverage to achieve the desired community (herd) immunity.

COVID health measures
Federal government messaging to urge people through the COVID fatigue.

To be sure, the science education had to come first. A high-five to Dr Bonnie Henry in BC, Dr Theresa Tam in Ottawa, and all the other public health leadership for teaching us what we needed to know to stay safe — the physical distancing, hand washing, wearing masks and staying home if we’re ill. Now we need to keep on doing those things, to rally our efforts to ban that COVID fatigue!

Xmas Zoom call
The new tradition… an Xmas Zoom call!

Everyone will do their best, but still the Christmas holiday season will have but good and tough moments for everyone. Setting up new traditions like family Zoom calls on Christmas Eve will be different but special. Christmas spent with our COVID-bubble will be memorable forever.

The disruption to family lives and the emotional and mental health impacts of things like Christmas apart or alone will also be something to deal with in the weeks that follow, but we can make the moments count.

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Recent Island Social Trends articles about COVID:

Alistair MacGregor, MP, Cowichan-Malahat-Langford
Alistair MacGregor, MP (Cowichan-Malahat-Langford) is the federal NDP Agriculture Critic. He is available by phone and email during COVID-19.