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My own private COVID-19 Part One: What others are thinking and doing during the pandemic

Peter Caulfield
My own private COVID-19 Part One: What others are thinking and doing during the pandemic

Canadians are constantly being told, “We’re all in this together.”

“This” being the COVID-19 pandemic we’ve been enduring since March.

Thanks to face masks, social distancing and other restrictions on our movements and communication, many of us are cut off from co-workers, friends and even family.

In an attempt to bring us a little closer together, the Daily Commercial News and Journal of Commerce spoke to six individuals who either work in construction or are suppliers to the industry and asked them how they’re faring and what’s on their mind. Their comments have been separated into three articles that will be featured this week.

To allow them to speak freely, we let them recount their experiences anonymously. One person, however, because of the non-personal nature of his comments, spoke on the record.

Their remarks have been edited and paraphrased for clarity.

 

Male, Ont.

“How afraid am I of contracting COVID-19? I’d say I am at seven out of 10. I have two immune-compromised family members I’m in direct contact with daily and another one I see weekly.

Since I’m the one who does the shopping and who takes our daughter out to socialize, I have my head on a swivel constantly when I’m out.

And I’m positively militant in avoiding crowds, wearing a mask and sanitizing and washing my hands.

I know of a couple in Alberta who contracted COVID-19 in March/April. They quarantined and, since they are young with no pre-existing conditions, they got through it intact. They are now fine and back at work.

The pandemic has been agonizing for me.

First, I have an aunt who requires chemotherapy. When COVID-19 struck her city, her treatments were delayed. And only now (late summer) has she been able to start receiving them again.

Second, my wife and I have had to wrestle with whether or not to allow our daughter to go back to school.

We know she would benefit from being with other kids, but we also know there’s a risk of exposure to the virus from them and their parents. So we finally decided to go the virtual-schooling route.

With the immune-compromised family members around us, it would be too risky to allow her to go back to school.”

 

Female, B.C.

“I don’t know anyone who’s had COVID-19, but an elderly neighbour had a false alarm in April and I had to go into isolation for 14 days, too.

I have a bubble of half a dozen friends and family from whom I don’t have to distance myself.

I put on a mask when I’m preparing to enter a store and I wear it all the time I’m inside.

I’m shocked at how selfish and uncaring some people are about others’ safety. They refuse to wear a mask and some of them even make a big fuss about it.

There’s too much social judgment about masks. A medical situation has become an issue of identity politics.

This has been harder than I thought it would be. I’ve had to deal with a lot of different stresses coming at me from different directions all at the same time. For example, I’ve had to lay off some of my staff. Any single stressor I could handle, but several at once is difficult.

Still, there’s been some good news. For instance, my personal relationships with my colleagues have improved and deepened.

If there’s a second wave of COVID-19, or if there’s another pandemic, I’ll be better prepared. I’ll take better care of myself – get more rest, practice meditation and manage my stress proactively.”

 

Part two of this series will feature more personal views from those in the industry about how the pandemic has impacted their lives in an article on Oct. 7.

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