It's been a few months now since the coronavirus situation began to unfold into an pandemic. Every day, the situation keeps evolving and changing. People are scared and don't know what to do. And you know what? I'm scared too. I'm doing my best to self-isolate, all the while knowing that there's no easy answers to how to balance social distancing with the need to go to work and keep a roof over my head.
In the past few weeks, the number of cases of COVID-19 has soared to over 200,000 worldwide with about 9,000 deaths. Italy and the US are currently the worst affected countries, with the latter projected to have over 1 million deaths by the summer. In the midst of this crisis, we have had several emergency declarations from multiple levels of government all over the world, with some measures more extreme than others.
Meanwhile, some good news appears to be on the horizon, at least in parts of the world where the pandemic has been ongoing for some time. In China, three months after the original crisis began, reported its first day with no new local infections. This is significant, as the quarantine measures implemented by the country more than a month ago are finally starting to have an effect. Similar reports coming from South Korea are also encouraging.
Now this comes with an obvious caveat for the rest of the world. The reason why these measures have worked is that the government of China made sure that its residents were cared for during this crisis. But that won't last long, as it expects workers to return to their jobs soon, risking another spread of the virus. This is a risk that North America needs to navigate very carefully over the coming months. We've seen in the past few days some of the announcements coming from the US and Canadian governments, and there are many unanswered questions.
Some of the biggest questions in the coming days will no doubt be about worker protections, tenant protections and bans on evictions, guaranteed income for food and supplies, and EI and disability benefits for the most vulnerable in our societies. Until then, my hope is that all of us will continue to follow the advice of medical professionals, that we stay informed on the most up-to-date information on the coronavirus, and practice safe and hygienic habits to ward off spreading the virus to others, in particular the elder populations and folks who are immunocompromised.
I had some thoughts I shared earlier on my FB account that I will post below, and I want you all to remember that we're in this together. If you find yourself feeling despondent or hopeless, reach out to someone you know and talk to them. Don't suffer in silence. We are all in this together. I will be staying home as much as possible and keeping close to as many of my friends and loved ones as I can. I suggest you all do the same. Take care everyone, and we'll get through this.
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