Can we create a better new normal out of COVID-19?

Can we create a better new normal out of COVID-19?

by Kate Thompson

We are in a holding pattern in the pandemic with more choices than most other countries heading into Phase Three re-openings.

Science, public health officials and governments are hinting long and loud that the pandemic will last well into next year. We will be living with social distancing, hand washing, masks and staycations for some time.

This is both a challenge and an opportunity. An opportunity to effect change; one that is being wasted.

How can we make the new normal better than the old normal. Is this an opportunity for personal and community growth? Join the conversation: Click on “Engaging,” open “Chatterbox” and tell us what you think.

We keep waiting for government to save the day. Not to put a fine point on it, but it is also government’s first kick at this can.

We see divisive headlines, demands for more help, complaints of too little too late, declarations from talking heads from every quarter that they will not survive.

These calls for help are genuine. There are no answers for all of them.

We heard from business initially.  Corporations hired PR firms to make sure they all had sensitive advertising in place. The same corporations are now publicly proclaiming policies affirming non-discriminatory practices. Other than that, they hunkered down, and waited.

There are some small businesses that adapted and stepped in with solutions changing up their production lines to manufacture respirators, PPE, testing equipment and vaccine research.

The bankers, investors, captains of industry, academics, economists, and entrepreneurs of last years’ headlines have been singularly and uncharacteristically quiet. Suddenly there are no sound bites about future possibilities, only Tweets from the “billionaire” in the White House.

Headlines are predictable: COVID-19 or the response to the effects. Others deal with rage, discrimination, police brutality, and more rage. Fodder for real change with effective, collaborative leadership.

We have an opportunity to change history, to work together to create our own new normal.  We are not taking advantage of an opportunity that is a first in our lifetimes.

A recent Provincial Telephone Town Hall with the Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors, Ronna Ray Leonard and Agriculture Minister Lana Popham answered questions submitted by British Columbians.

There were questions about plans to protect aboriginal communities, mental health supports for families and frontend workers, seed banks and food security, help for non-profits, mandatory accreditation for long term care homes and border closings.

The answers were well practiced and on message. There was nothing new – just more of the same from trusted sources.

Callers were polled.

43 per cent were most concerned about a second wave; 66 per cent were at least somewhat optimistic about the future, and 75 per cent wanted to see the economy restarted.

Most of the problems are not new.  The situation is new, new to all of us.

We have set an example to be proud of in flattening the COVID-19 curve in our community.

We need to continue to achieve success; work with local businesses and organizations, help identify best practices, opportunities and possibilities for the economy and the community. We need to lead by example instead of waiting for someone else to do it.

What was science fiction last year is scientific fact this year, the impossible has happened. We can make this an opportunity.

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